Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Park Slope FSBO: 491 4th Street

Bring your hefty renovation budget over to this primetime Park Slope shell. 491 4th Street is a 3-family house "set on a beautiful tree-lined block of 3 million dollar homes" that's for sale by owner. According to the owner's listing, the house is "gutted and is ready for renovation". According to Property Shark, this house was first listed back in November 2010 for $1.6M, then the price was dropped ten days later to $1.5M. Now it's been relisted for a month at the much higher $1.695M. This is a curious price drop then increase. Certainly, the market has turned since last fall, but we're still not sure it can bear this price.

Our best guess is the owner originally listed it in places that weren't getting much exposure, but now that she's gotten herself a NYTimes listing, she's bracing for more attention and more high end buyers with that higher price.

The block is cute and quaint, up the Slope close to the park. Although this house is right across the street from the gated entrance to the school parking lot. Proximity to a great stretch of bustling 7th Avenue, including a faux-french fave of ours "La Bagel Delight", is certainly a plus. All things being equal, we'd probably rather spend less money to make 432 Clinton happen. But seeing how fast the janky 405 Douglas went into contract, maybe this number isn't completely off. And, as we've seen, the Park Slope premium can often command this price for a not-that-incredible 2-Family home.

Indeed, having roughly 4,000 sqft to work with on a block this nice commands a premium. A key question will be how much it takes to maximize its potential, and if that's upwards of $500K, even wealthy clientele may want some give-back on the sales price. We get no pictures of the interior, or any sense of the layout, indicating that it's not even worth it to include because a total overhaul is in order. Compared to something like the quirky-yet-turnkey 706 Degraw, we'd much rather err on the side of turnkey for this kind of money.

Pro's: curb appeal, great block, proximity to 7th Avenue and the Park, great potential, big canvass to work with

Con's: lots of renovation budget needed, lengthy renovation, landmarked buildings can be pain

Ideally: something like this would still be affordable to commoners like us, but a wealthy client ends up with this house regardless. However, maybe that $1.5M price point is worth exploring again.

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