Thursday, March 31, 2011

There's No Accounting For Taste: 57 St. Marks Avenue

Here at BK to the Fullest, we're mourning the loss of the real estate function on Google Maps. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!!

We're also mourning the loss of 96 St. Marks Avenue, originally listed at $1.9M, we offered $1.1M, and it closed 6 months later for $1M. It's especially painful when you see something semi-dinky like 126 St. Marks a few doors up the block, listing for $2.1M for over a year and finally closing on 3/16/11 for $1.9M. Now we bring you something that's almost worth asking price: it's 57 St. Marks Avenue.

Out of our league at $2.1M and not our kind of play, but if you dropped $1.9M on that so-so 126 St. Marks, feast your eyes on this:

Again, more than anything, we're just shocked at 126 St. Marks managing to fetch $1.9M with all the incredible places $1.9M can get ya. Plus with some shells in Carroll Gardens going for $1.45M, it's nice to know $2M can still get ya a great finished product in a great neighborhood. But wayyyy too rich for our blood.

Pro's: stunning interior, back deck, location, radiant floor heating

Con's: way out of our price range

Ideally: we still say 287 Dekalb is the move in this price range.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tiny 2-Family's Continue: 20 Lefferts Place

20 Lefferts Place is a 14' wide brick home on this quiet little street in Clinton Hill that has seen lots of activity. 20 Lefferts was first listed for $1.125M on 8/28/10, and is now offered for $1.09M. Anyone considering this property should be kicking themselves they missed the enormous 109 Lefferts, should track down the immaculate 64 Lefferts, might've considered 215 Gates, and might be better off with 8 Lefferts. People come to Lefferts for a bargain, whether that means a bigger size, better condition, or better price. 20 Lefferts is small and relatively affordable, and has a clean, shiny, workable interior. Overall, it's nothing special, though we ARE loving the garden:

Buyers will be drawn to 20 Lefferts for lots of reasons, but the best places to drop ~$1M in our book, at the moment, would be 446 Prospect Avenue, 279 13th Street, or 154 Underhill.

Pro's: curb appeal, totally turnkey, great garden, quaint little block

Con's: kinda off the beaten path, 14' wide, maybe not the best thing in its price range - or on the block for that matter

Ideally: we would imagine something just under $999K, but there's so many other moves buyers could make in that range that it's tough to say...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Déjà Vu All Over Again: 270 Sterling Place

Listed for $1.8M in 2007, dropped to $1.5M in 2009, sold for $1.2M in 2010, listed for $1.795M in 2011. Ladies & gentlemen, I give you 270 Sterling Place. This stately 2-Family brownstone in prime Prospect Heights is on a quaint, tree-lined block around the corner from bustling Vanderbilt, Grand Army Plaza & Prospect Park, and trains. We love this neighborhood, and there's only so many of these 4,200 sqft buildings that come along, especially in such manageable condition. But we're not sure if this is what you spend on a 2-Family here quite yet.

The inside's bright & open, with the classic look of original details:

We love that the old Zillow listing before the sale even boasts, "This house has been reduced from $2,000,000 to $1,500,000 to bring it in line with today's economy!"

Today, you get more value for this kind of money here than you would in Park Slope or in Carroll Gardens. But when it comes to Prospect Heights we'd still rather make a move on something like 407 Sterling Place that just dropped to $1.599M and has a comparable interior. Also compare to the much skinnier, over-priced 285 Park Place. But if you have even close to the kind of money it would take to acquire this place and fancy it up even a bit, we say you're better off with the Urban McMansion that is 287 DeKalb. There's certainly a really nice house here, it's gonna come down to pricing and what somebody wants to do with it.

Pro's: curb appeal, great block, 4,200+ sqft + FAR, delivered vacant, original details & good condition, close to everything, rare opportunity

Con's: steep price, maybe there's better value elsewhere

Ideally: This isn't our kind of play, but it stacks up nicely to some neighborhoods, and makes us consider others.

Monday, March 28, 2011

It's Raining 2-Family's: 354 5th Street

The spring buying season is here and 2-Family buildings are hitting the market fast & furious - with easy to schedule open houses to boot! It's a shame that so many of these new places are only 16' wide and over-priced, but are both of those things out of our hands?

345 5th Street enjoys a supreme location in central Park Slope, just off of 5th Avenue and close to the trains. While a 2-Family at $1.575M is clearly over-priced for modest buyers like us, this market is more about baller buyers paying a Park Slope premium for things like school district.

The interior offers some nice wood floors and original mantles, with some generic finishes in the bathroom and kitchen:

If you know your target market, why not shoot for them? Corcoran would stage this place and give it a way better shot at fetching the pretty penny they're asking for this high above $1.3M. If you're not gonna catch the baller's eyes with some fancy-pants interior, we'd just as soon walk a few blocks deeper and catch a way better bargain like 279 13th Street for $1.1-ish. This makes 645 Baltic look like a complete steal at $1.499M.

Pro's: prime Park Slope, off 5th Avenue, nice floors & details, could be essentially a nice shell for a way more baller client than us

Con's: pricey, 16' wide, we can get bigger or more stylish for the same price

Ideally: If you're paying this price, maybe you'd expect to see a little more. If you're not married to this location, you don't have to pay this price.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Vinyl Siding Reno & Price Drop & Open House: 209A 14th Street

South Slope is getting a barrage of 2-Family's just in time for the spring selling season. We all know "spring" is a relative term in New York. At 38 degrees in the sunshine, mother nature didn't get the memo that it's spring, but at least the agents & the sellers have. 209A 14th Street is a 16' wide, vinyl siding 2-Family now listed for $1.165M. Originally listed on 1/31/10 for $1.395M, it's now re-listed and having an open house tomorrow from 2:30-4pm. Despite a few flashy interior pictures, the original price was way-steep, almost reminiscent of 128 2nd Street a vestige of the crisis from 2008:

This catches our attention because of the interior, location, and price. However, the vinyl siding and small size give us pause. Might still be another condo alternative candidate, but with brick and brownstones out there for this price, somebody would really have to fall in love with those black floors or something to make a move over here, unless the price keeps falling.

Pro's: interior renovation, not out of the Slope, backyard, back deck

Con's: vinyl siding, 16' x 30', only 3BR's

Ideally: does $999K even do the trick?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Open House Sunday: 446 Prospect Avenue

One man's "Park Slope" is another man's "Windsor Terrace". But a rose by any other name, would it still sell for almost a million dollars? If a brownstone falls in the forest, would anybody still overbid for it? Either way you cut it, 446 Prospect Avenue is worth a closer look. Sometimes we go through long stretches of hardly worthwhile, over-priced places, but things worth their weight have been popping up all over recently. This 2-Family brick building looks ready to go. It's turnkey interior, proximity to the F train and Prospect Park, as well as nice, semi-hip amenities makes this a totally legit buy:

Sure it's only 16' wide, only has 4 bedrooms, not many square feet, and the exterior's seen better days. But it's 50' deep, has a deck and finished basement, beats most condos, and the open house means no scheduling snaffoo's with flakey agents (you know who you are!) and the chance that they actually mean to sell the dang thing. Walk over there this Sunday 12:00-2pm and check it out!

Pro's: condo alternative, close to the train & park, amenities & actual Park Slope are near-by, totally turnkey

Con's: exterior, 16' wide, not a lot of BR's or SQFT, Windsor Terrace-y

Ideally: check out the open house and see if there's a catch, but this shouldn't last long either...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

South Slope Condo Alternative: 279 13th Street

Lots of things make 279 13th Street a compelling buy. The list price of $1.179M (or $671/sqft) is competetive with the rest of South Slope brick & brownstones, the condo market, and the rest of the 2-Family market. The interior is very turnkey and has some great retained/restored details:

Sure, 15' wide is going to give you some narrow spaces. But this is great condition at a great price. Compare it to a more expensive fixer-upper like 313 12th Street or 443 11th Street. For an even deeper discount, you can check out the smaller, further, dinkier, cheaper 195 13th Street. This looks like one of the most do-able buys out there, probably won't last long...

Pro's: price, interior, curb appeal, beats most apartments

Con's: 15' wide, not a lot of sqft

Ideally: anywhere close to $1.1M, we'd call this a strong buy

Monday, March 21, 2011

Clinton Hill Conversion: 26 Lefferts

A conversion in Clinton Hill for less than a million?? Join the club!

26 Lefferts, listed for $899K & currently chopped up into 7 units, needs conversion into a 1, 2, or 3-Family. It joins the distinguished company of 26 St. James, 137 St. James, 189 St. James, and 238 Lafayette as a renovation/conversion opportunity in Clinton Hill, many of which are right around $1M or just below it. For the most part these places are great bones, delivered vacant, in need of some hundreds of thousands in renovations, and SRO or other kinds of C of O conversions. Financing can be tough, sellers are said to be looking for all cash deals, which puts even more pressure on price. We've been told places like 137 St. James (which looks like the best in breed over here at this rate) have a ton of offers and back-up offers at asking price or above asking price. Which is kinda odd, 'cause we've been told this since early January and the dang thing sure doesn't look like it's in contract yet to us.

Ya gotta like a shell with a nice exterior & curb appeal that's under a million. Ya gotta like being able to put your own details and finishing touches on it. But by the time you put the downpayment needed to do the deal AND you fund a hefty renovation out of pocket, you might looking at well over $300K in intial cash outlay, at which point you might just get something turnkey with 20% down on $1.5M in a more desirable neighborhood, or you might skip over to Bed-Stuy and get a more epic property that isn't a tiny 20' x 35' like 26 Lefferts is. 109 Lefferts, which recently went into contract, looks to be a superior move in this genre.

Hit with a Lis Pendens for a foreclosure mortgage on just $52K in 2009, 26 Lefferts was later picked up in a foreclosure auction for $526K on 2/7/2011. They wasted no time listing it for $899K a week later with Prudential, and now re-listed with BLS. Not a bad turn-around for a month's time, but this may not yet be the price...

Pro's: curb appeal, make it your own, price point seems low

Con's: needs expensive & lengthy conversion & renovation, financing is tough, off the beaten path a bit, 20' x 35' doesn't give the biggest floorplate to work with

Ideally: there's lots of plays to be made in this genre, and it's a huge outlay for not the most amazing area. People with the funds to make it happen might be looking for something more like 414 Dean.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Update-able 2-Fam in South Slope: 313 12th Street

Check out this funky little, boxy, 16' wide 2-Family! 313 12th Street is between 5th & 6th Avenues in the semi-more afforadable South Slope. The interior has that 70's-infused Ladies' Man feel of 238 Lafayette:

("Yeahhhh.... thass cool...")

For something more turnkey in this price range, you might get a little more bang for your buck out of the 3-Family 310 Lafayette over in Clinton Hill, but the Park Slope appeal is it's own kinda thing. But if you're fixing up a 2-Family around this purchase price, the location of the recently-reduced 414 Dean is superior to 313 12th Street. But there's value down the road here for the right price...

Pro's: curb appeal, Slope-y location, amenities, double-duplex layout

Con's: needs updating, 2-Family status, pricey for a fixer-upper, better things out there

Ideally: with turn-key type places selling in this neighborhood for this price, and lots of equity in the place, make a stab at a lower price that works for you.

Friday, March 18, 2011

NOW We're Talking: 154 Underhill Avenue

Back from a quick Caribbean hiatus, we finally have a listing you can sink your teeth into almost sight-unseen. 154 Underhill Avenue is a 4-Family limestone that sits right by Grand Army Plaza, right by Prospect Park, in stately Prospect Heights. Sure, it's only 3 stories and it's in "estate condition", but it's not everyday you see a 20' wide 4-Family in this area for under a million.

The owners are sitting on lots of equity, but unless this needs a complete gut renovation (which we can't imagine), this is a great buy. With lots of activity going on, bananas-ridiculous prices are back. And things that have no business being within a quarter million of what they're listed for are popping up left & right. It may create an over-priced climate that forces some buyers to overpay just because they know somebody else will if they don't - and there's a finite number of these places - which is what makes a legitimately-priced listing like this an extra special breath of fresh air.

Pro's: neighborhood, price, 4-Family status, curb appeal

Con's: 3 stories, probably needs updating, no interior pics, odd showing hours (which actually works in savvy buyers' favor)

Ideally: get in there and get this thing! It will not last.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Quaint, not too Gowanus-y 2-Fam: 291 Hoyt Street

Tucked away in this little sliver of Carroll Gardens east of Smith Street, west of the Gowanus Canal, and south of the projects that run the avenue between Hoyt and Bond the two blocks between Wyckoff and Douglass comes 291 Hoyt Street. This is certainly a kind of sweet-spot. This location is within walking distance of the same stretches of Smith & Court Streets that people pay out the wazoo to live by, and a short few blocks to the F train at Carroll Street. This price of $1.5M isn't cheap by any stretch, but it's certainly turn-key and gorgeous on the inside for the price that some people paid for shells and turned into $3M mini-mansions. And the projects around the corner didn't deter those people.

This 2-Family brick building is up against such nicey-pricey neighbors as 452 Sackett and 70 2nd Street (which just went into contract after just about a month). We still would've preferred to spend this kind of money on a bigger, basically-just-as-nice 4-Family like 82 Butler Street or 645 Baltic. But as the wacky 2-Family market goes, this ain't shabby.

Too bad there's not likely to be much price flexibility with the current owners buying in 2007 for $1.295M from a Halstead listing for $1.6M from 2006.

Pro's: totally turn-key, killer interior, sun-room extension on the first floor, finished basement, walking distance to Carroll Gardens trains and ameneties

Con's: 2-Family, 16' wide, 3BR's total?, sort of off the beaten path but where's the value in the pricing?

Ideally: We'd still rather have a 4-Fam for $1.4M than this for even $1.3M, but the kind of client who swooped up 476 Degraw will probably make a go at this.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Not Our Cup of Tea: 355 14th Street

Brown Harris Stevens does well with the high-end listings and they seem committed to taking better pictures than ever. We're not sure if that's going to make anyone drop $1.65M over here for something so small, but it's worth a shot. 355 14th Street is a 2-Family in South Slope just off lovable 7th Avenue. Coverted from a Single Family, it sits at only 16' x 40'. Although, it sure cleans up nice:

The design inside is pretty neat-o, from the floors to the walls to the molding. But you can see why they didn't include a picture of the exterior in the listing. You get a 2BR owner's duplex with a "Japanese-style cedar deck overlooking the garden", plus a one BR garden rental unit. You're paying for quality not quantity over here, but no matter how nice it is, we look for more than 3BR's for our $1.65M. If you've got that kind of money to spend and you like Prospect Park, we think you're better of with some off the plays in Prospect Heights like 407 Sterling.

Pro's: cleans up nice in pictures, lots of great interior details, deck & yard in the back

Con's: price, curb appeal, 16' width, only 3BR's, SOUTH slope

Ideally: There a plenty of 2-Family's in this price range we'd go with before this, but the owner's sitting on all equity and this is, afterall, Park Slope...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Open House Today: 8 4th Place

We covered this bad-boy back in September 2010, and now it's been relisted with Corcoran and has an open house today from noon to 2pm.

As predicted, we didn't think this place could command $1.45M. And, as we always note, nobody gives you a better shot to land that hefty price than Corcoran.

Pretty much nothing's changed in our book over here since the first write-up, but keep in mind these additional comps:

77 4th Place sold for $1.05M on 8/13/2010

43 4th Place sold for $1.4M on 11/1/2010

36 4th Place sold for $1.9M on 10/13/2010

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Price Is Wrong: 367 Degraw Street

Where's Bob Barker when you need him?

Because pets are running around neither spayed nor neutered, and people are throwing the craziest prices on everything. If the closest bid without going over wins, we're bidding $1. Now we can't blame ya, if you're sitting on 100% equity and any agent is willing to take the listing, and crazier things have happened, it's worth a shot to list your property for too much and hope you hit the lotto.

367 Degraw Street is a 3-Family brick building just off of Smith Street in BoCoCa recently listed for $1.85M. While many things in this neighborhood have gone for this kind of price, they usually have more to offer. The dark interior pictures of this building don't entice us to drop the $400K in downpayment and closing costs it would take at this price.

You may recall a close neighbor 476 Degraw that went into contract pretty quickly with great photos of a shiny new renovation. It's hard for us to see someone paying this much more for so much less. There are way better ways to dedicate this dough, but if you like this, you might even like the embarrassingly mis-priced 137 Adelphi Street.

Pro's: location, backyard, rental income potential

Con's: mispriced, meager interior, layout looks pretty bootleg

Ideally: Drive out to Long Island and tell this agent what's really going on in Brooklyn, then you might be able to snag this at a reasonable price.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

An Outer Slope 4-Family: 137 14th Street

137 14th Street is a 4-Family just listed in outer Park Slope for $1.399M. At first glance the price, exterior photo, and Park Slope-y location might grab ya:

The exterior is very reminiscent of 312 Greene Avenue. But then you realize it's between 3rd and 4th Avenues, which with the vinyl siding houses and mechanic shops and warehouses on the block can start to feel more like Bay Ridge than Park Slope. Certainly not "in the heart of Park Slope" as the listing would have you believe. And then you see the interior pics which are dark and leave something to be desired for this price:

And THEN you remember that the far-superior, primo-located 96 St. Marks sold for $1M on the dot and you wanna start pulling your hair out all over again and cursing the silly agent who never called you back to take your offer that was $100K higher and would have closed months sooner. But alas...

Pro's: curb appeal, 4-Family status, rental income potential, 20' x 40' floorplate, striking distance of Park Slope and trains

Con's: no neighborhood feel, outer Slope, interior is dated, kinda pricey

Ideally: Lots of equity should be built up in this place, so if the location isn't a deal breaker, get in there a make an offer that works for ya!