Thursday, June 9, 2011

We're Going on Vacation....

Well, it's been almost a year now here at BK to the Fullest. We've seen a little bit of everything. From houses that had no business being listed to gems that slipped right out of our hands. We even saw a harpsichord!

We're off to explore some foreign coasts for a few weeks, but we'll be back and better than ever the first week of July - just in time for our one year anniversary. Still dedicated to bringing you listings, comparisons, and analysis of multi-family properties in Brooklyn like no one else can - it's always BK to the Fullest.

Please post any questions, comments, suggestions, or requests in the comments section. Or contact us by e-mail.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

3-Family Shell in Fort Greene: 434 Vanderbilt Avenue

No one's actually bought a livable 3-Family on the open market in Fort Greene for $550K in many years. So imagine our surprise when we saw 434 Vanderbilt Avenue listed with Ideal for that price. What's the catch? It's not livable. It needs a total renovation. It's just a shell. We asked the agent if $200K-$300K would get it done, like it would've on 137 St. James Place, but we were told, "More like $600K-$800K." Too rich for our blood, but worth a look.

This legal 3-Family is 20 x 35 and has 3,120 sqft. Neighborhood-wise, this property's actually more located in Clinton Hill, even though it's technically in the Fort Greene Landmark Historic District. It was purchased in March of 2010 for $440K, and just now listed for sale. A decent flip for that owner, yet we could barely see raising half the money it would take to get this place where it needs to be. And with Cocoran landing many comparable listings in contract in the $1.2M-$1.5M range, a handful around these blocks this spring, it's hard to see a $550K purchase + $800K in renovations netting a whole that's greater than the sum of the parts. The place doesn't even look that great from the outside, which is perhaps why the agent neglected to include even an exterior photo. New to the market, though, and the agent is very upbeat and forthcoming, so if you have $1.1M in cash laying around, it's worth a glance. We'd rather spend that kind of cash on a superior property. Contact us for better ideas on how to spend it...

Pro's: delivered vacant, price point, personalize-able, landmarked district, close to the train

Con's: all cash needed for purchase, lots more cash needed for renovation, landmarked districts can be a pain w/building permits & requirements, curb appeal, better ways to spend $1.1M-$1.3M cash on these very blocks - or in a superior neighborhood

Ideally: this is a qualitatively different play than we usually look at. Even if this building was offered to you at $250K all cash, the whole deal still probably wouldn't be that feasible or profitable. No need to split hairs over price when you're already in over your head.

Friday, June 3, 2011

2-Family Comparisons: 396 Douglass Street

After our last two picks were 1 & 2-Family places in the $1.2M-$1.3M range in Boerum Hill, comes a tiny 2-Family in the north end of Park Slope for $1.25M. 396 Douglass Street is a 16' wide brick building that sits between 4th and 5th Avenues. Ironically, we've already said more about it than the 20 word listing itself does. As we've noted before, Fillmore listings often leave something to be desired. There are also no interior pictures, but the listing is brand new, so we'll give them a chance to remedy that. What we are told is that it's "fully renovated" and there are 2BR's on each floor. Reading between the lines a bit on the "can be delivered vacant" claim, we're assuming there are tenants now and that they are month-to-month. There's no layout provided, but we're assuming there's a duplex involved with the garden level floor.

All things being equal, who wouldn't just go with 82 Douglass Street instead? At least there, you know what you're getting, and the area (or at least that section of it) is more desirable than down the hill in Park Slope. Again, this is why it pays to do "apples to apples" comparisons.

(Besides making you a killing in the real estate market, Apples to Apples is also a hilarious game to play with your friends.)

Also compare to the gut reno listed just up the hill on the same street for $1.3M that didn't last long at all. With the last sale of 396 Douglass coming in 2004 for $350K, some renovation and a modest refinance, there should be plenty of equity in place for a slightly more palatable number. If there's something worth paying up for here, Fillmore ought to show us.

Pro's: "can be delivered vacant", "full renovated", location, potential value, rental income potential

Con's: 16' wide, 1,624 sqft, no interior pictures, better value on the same block in a better patch of neighborhood

Ideally: worth a look, but our spider senses tell us it's simply mis-priced and that 82 Douglass still stacks up way better.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Microscopic Single Family: 293 Pacific Street

We never cover single-family homes, but we couldn't help but notice that this teenie-weenie house in prime time Boerum Hill finally went into contract. Especially after seeing how it stacks up to our last pick in Boerum Hill. Would you rather have a small, turnkey 2-Family for $1.3M? Or an EXTRA tiny Single Family shell that needs a complete renovation for $1.2M? 293 Pacific Street is a 14' wide residence that reminds us of our old Micro Machines toys.

Unfortunately it looks like the owner bought in February 2008 for $1.2M, tragically just before the crash that fall. It was originally listed in February 2010 for $1.299M with Prudential, then de-listed a few months later, then re-listed. Finally, it's been re-re-listed with another broker this year. Great neighborhood, but such a small space AND it needs extensive work? Not gonna happen. We'd be shocked to see this close at it's latest asking price of $1.2M. Granted, it is deep, but 14' is super narrow. And this AIN'T Manhattan. Check out the inside:

You're running for your checkbook, right? Whoever would even consider this would be much better off around the corner at 82 Dean Street. Or if you're not married to this neighborhood, there's a handful of better, similar deals in Clinton Hill and Fort Greene. Contact us for more info...

Pro's: location, deep, personalize-able, rental income potential

Con's: price, curb appeal, needs everything, narrow, noisy schoolyard right across the street, no real backyard, nearly impossible to finance

Ideally: wouldn't even do this at $800K, and totally useless for our purposes anyways at all-cash status. Still a curious case, awaiting the closing price.