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.

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