Monday, October 31, 2011

Mixed Feelings on Mixed-Use: 612 5th Avenue

Mixed-use properties can be a mixed bag. They don't always have the cash-flow that a pure investor looks for. Then, when you go to finance them, you've gotta come with at least 25-30% down in many cases. That can be tough for lots of people. One added bonus, though, is the bank looks at the income of the building rather than the borrower. So if you've got that hefty downpayment, but you're self-employed or your income isn't W-2, a mixed-use can be a great way to get into a purchase. Sometimes you can buy mixed-use at a relative bargain in a nice area where all the end-user residential places are already over-priced. But you're often on a noisier, commercial avenue - and you don't get the backyard or garden duplex for yourself. These mixed-use Pro's/Con's are why you see something like the mixed-use 469 Myrtle failing to fetch $1M, while its neighbor, the cryogenically-frozen for another year 204 Washington Avenue, just sold around $975K.

Today we take a look at 612 5th Avenue in the outer rim of South Slope, just past the Prospect Expressway. They want $1.499M for a corner property with 2 apartments and a bagel store that's paying $3,400/month. The listing doesn't show any pictures of the interior, but tells us the apartments have "brand new kitchens, bathrooms, sheetrock, parquet floors, electric and 2 new heating systems."

But if you really can handle mixed-use in this price range, aren't you better off on 258 Dekalb Avenue in prime Fort Greene right next to Fort Greene Park? And there's plenty of fishing left to be done, that we can think of, on a better stretch of Vanderbilt Avenue by Prospect Park. This isn't where we'd drop the at least $375K down it's going to take to acquire 612 5th Avenue. With that kind of money, you'd want some nice cash flow, a nice location, a nice interior - or hopefullly some combination of the three. We're not sure you get any of those over here. Maybe somebody will buy it just for the smell of yummy bagels being baked fresh daily, but do your due diligence on that C rating.

Pro's: corner property, mixed-use has some upsides for certain buyers, technically South Slope

Con's: hefty downpayment, not much cashflow, no interior pics, need to see more to justify this price

Ideally: why go here when there's better to be had?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Junior Whopper: 725 President Street

Let's imagine you were hungry, and you only had $1.75 to spend. Oh... and you were at Burger King. Would you buy the Whopper or the Whopper Junior? Our guess is the Whopper. More bang for your buck, right?

Now - why would anyone behave differently if we raised the stakes by a million? Why don't you ask the folks down at Brownstone Real Estate who listed the 12.5' wide 725 President Street for $1.783M? It supposedly has high ceilings, which might actually manage to be taller than the building is wide.

We would spend a little time ragging on the awkward angle of the dated kitchen shot with the doorway in the foreground...

Or how, "The upper triplex boasts... a 2-seat hot tub with a skylight" that looks more like a sink in this picture...

But just do yourself a favor and go by the cheaper, larger, better Original Whopper, 710 President Street, if you're even considering 725 at any price.

Pro's: original details, high ceilings, location, turns out the hot tub isn't a sink

Con's: 12.5' wide, 2,400 sqft, nothing grabs us inside, wayyyy better ways to spend this money

Ideally: do not pass go, do not collect $200, go straight to 710 President Street

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Topics: Listings - "Is you is, or is you ain't?"

It's hard enough to find listings in the first place in this fractured Brooklyn real estate market. Perfectly good houses have listings that live under a rock that almost no one sees. Likewise, perfectly good houses that aren't actually available for sale (anymore, or ever, for a myriad of reasons) sit indistinguishably alongside houses that are actually available for sale. What's a buyer to do?

Take 138 Prospect Place, for example. We covered this SRO back in December 2010, and it still hasn't sold. Looks like a steal, right? Its listing is even still active on Zillow as if it could be bought today. But the truth is, it's in contract, has been for the longest, and has court issues holding up the sale. They're not showing anymore or taking back-up offers. That's all well & good, so then just take the listing down, Ms. Agent! Or put "in contract" on there - anything to let potential buyers know it's a dead-end. Is that too much to ask?

Apparently the same kind of situation is going on with another fave of ours (after it's extensive price drop) 414 Dean Street. This total ****tease can still be found actively for sale on Zillow, but the situation is so sticky, it's almost completely prohibitive. So do us a favor, Mr. Agent, and take your listing down, eh? Or at the very least, lay it all out there on the table, like one of our favorite forthcoming listings of all time did. If you give us the full story upfront, only qualified buyers will step-up to the plate and it saves everyone time. We have to also give credit where credit's due to Sharon Burroughs for another great, forthcoming listing for 628 Grand. She boldly lets you know upfront, "Renovations have been started so call your construction peeps, roll up your sleeves and lets do this thing."

Granted, many listings that call out their problems upfront, like 33 Cambridge, have managed to sell alongside listings that don't, like 204 Washington Avenue. But we always say honesty is the best policy. Agents, step your game up! The more you tell us about your property from the outset, the more appropriate buyers you'll attract & the less time everyone wastes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

State of Gentrification: 486 Warren Street

The New York Times has an article out about how housing projects aren't discouraging high-end buyers in Boerum Hill during real estate boom times like we're in now. We remember people discouraging us from picking up a $1.4M 3-Family on Warren Street just before the crash because it was "too close to the projects" in their book. Now this neighborhood has become even more bougie than we'd imagined when we rented there in 2008-2010, so you can only imagine how the old-timers who bought in the 1970's and 1980's feel. One woman on Warren Street who told the NYT, "I bought this house for $17,000 in 1972,” says, "I feel like I’ve sort of outlived my time on the block." Wowza.

As evidence of what the neighborhood's become, they offer up this 4-Family 486 Warren Street listed for $2.5M. "There goes the neighborhood", right? Wrong. What a terribly tone-deaf example of what's going on in the neighborhood, in our humble opinion. A $2M+ listing with slanted-angle camera phone pictures of a dated, unstaged interior aren't a measure of the local market as much as the audacity of the seller.

Jeez, all the buyers in this price range that we know tidy up the kitchen better than this before the cleaning lady comes over - let alone on the day they take the picture that tries to fetch $2.5M! At least they had the courtesy of making the bed. You might think a condo developer, of all people, would have gotten this memo. Especially when you look at the shiny pictures Corcoran took to sell his finished condos.

When you REALLY want to know the true state of the market, you look at what people have actually paid, not what people wish upon a star for. Case in point, the immaculate 3-Family a few blocks away, 239 Dean Street, listed for $2.549M in May 2011 and just closed for $2.31M on 10/11/2011.

As if we actually needed to give other examples of why this asking price on 486 Warren Street is borderline comical, who wouldn't rather purchase 329 Clinton Street for $2.5M? Or this much cheaper, in contract property also on Warren Street? Or 364 Union Street? Even this great listing on a far-superior stretch of Warren Street is over-priced, but way more justified. The list goes on. As we always tell buyers in this price range, there's a ton of product to choose from, so be picky!

We agree with the New York Times' point overall, though. We've seen before how housing projects can affect their neighbors, like on a stretch of St. James Place in Clinton Hill. Indeed, these very housing projects can often add a certain authenticity to the neighborhood for certain types of folks who romanticize local edginess in their privileged flee from gentrification & strollers - as Yeasayer admitted to us last year in Clinton Hill. But let's not let the sins of one listing speak for an entire neighborhood. A few great details to speak for here on 486 Warren Street, for sure, but if you wanna get hired for this $2.5M job, at least dress up for the interview, man! It's kind of a shame 'cause it's actually a great property in lots of ways. However, contact us for 20 better places than this, at this price or cheaper.

Pro's: 4-Family, 4 wood burning fireplaces, rental income potential, south-facing decks, great neighborhood (even with housing projects at the end of the block)

Con's: dated interior, only 40' deep, camera phone quality shots of the interior, better buys abound

Ideally: simply mis-priced and mis-marketed. We'd gladly take pictures of this place just as good as Corcoran would and get it sold for it's real market price, at half the cost to the seller that Corocoran would charge.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Park Slope Premium is Alive: 710 President Street

If you like 706 Degraw Street, you'll love this! 710 President Street is a nice slice of primetime Park Slope between 5th & 6th Avenues, with the neighborhood's premium built in. This 17.75' x 45' brownstone is a legal 3-Family in turnkey condition with an owner's duplex and 1BR rentals on top. There's nice original details and some dated fixtures that could use updating to max it out, but they're fishing a little too high in price anyways...

They listed in July 2011 for $1.99M, then dropped to $1.899M in September, now the current price of $1.749M is getting warmer. Ya gotta love some of the floors, the backyard, and the location, but we'd rather spend this kind of money on a more finished product. They're bound to fetch somewhere close to this just because of how little product there is on blocks this key. But we'd swoop up a few 4-Families around this price range, some in even better condition, before we'd do this - including one just a few blocks away that could be one of the better Park Slope buys of the year. They seem to still be having open houses, though. Could be worth a look, and a $1.6M offer. Or head over to Clinton Hill for one of the handful of finished mansions available for this price or less. Who else breaks down Brooklyn for ya like we do?

Pro's: location, curb appeal, backyard, turnkey, original details

Con's: dated interior, a little narrow, Park Slope premium

Ideally: with another price drop due, it could work for a few kinds of buyers

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Huge & Camera-Shy with Potential: 112 St. James Place

You know we love Clinton Hill, and you've seen us up & down St. James Place. From the enormous steal that is 234 St. James Place, to the gorgeous-if-overpriced 14 St. James, to one of the best 4-Family renovation buys all year. Today we take a look at 112 St. James Place, although they're not giving us too much to look at. Just listed at $1.3M a couple of days ago, the listing says it's located "in arguably the 'sweet spot' in the Clinton Hill Historic District." It's also priced in that sweet spot between what some gut reno's and SRO's go for over here without pictures on their listing, like 121 Cambridge, and what some more manageable renovations with pictures go for, like 107 Cambridge. We think 112 St. James should show us some pictures.

In any event, a 4,000+ sqft 2-Family brownstone with original details and this much curb appeal can easily fetch this price over here almost regardless of condition or layout, especially considering the prices the Cambridge Place places went for. As (almost) always: good house, sub-par listing. If we were trying to sell this, we'd take extra steps to set it apart from the handful of listings over there in this price range, but we're sure it'll sell despite the half-baked listing.

Pro's: curb appeal, 4,000+ sqft, location, original details

Con's: 18.5' wide, no layout, no photos, no clarity on tenancy situation or interior condition

Ideally: still worth a look, all day long. Could be a slam dunk for the right buyer.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Top Notch Cobble Hill: 329 Clinton Street

Is it too much to ask to be wowed by a $2M+ listing? Yesterday's listing for 473 Clinton Avenue left us way underwhelmed, so we thought we'd mosey on over to Clinton Street in Cobble Hill and see what Brooklyn's most expensive neighborhood by median home sale price had to offer above $2M. 329 Clinton Street is a 21' wide 4-Family brownstone on a top-notch block. You've seen us on Clinton Street before, like when a shell listed for $1.45M with no pictures and quickly closed for $1.731M, but 329 Clinton Street is no shell. It's also no steal either at $2.695M. This 5-story home has all kinds of neat details like parquet floors, hardwood floors, original mantles, exposed brick, exposed wood beams, multiple skylights in the attic...

But still not nearly as impressive as the less expensive, better photographed, in contract 3-Family on Warren Street. BHS knows what they're doing. When you're making over $120K on a listing, why not throw the photographer a few Benjamins along the way to help really sell the place to these big-ticket buyers? With better pictures to be found on a $929K apartment listing than this $2.695M building on Clinton Street, it kinda leaves us kind of feeling like Cartman, who "at least likes to be wined & dined" after he's taken advantage of.

At least this listing for a $930K condo in Clinton Hill offers 2 spa gift certificates if you close by November 30th. Which might be a nice parting gift if you bought a $60K Mercedes, but is really the least the agent could do if you just dropped about $200K down on a condo. Someone is eventually going to see this place on Clinton Street and pay up for a block where inventory is quality over quantity, but if it were our listing, you'd get a WAY better look at it than this.

Pro's: top notch block, 21' wide, 5 story, great original details, backyard, a few good looks at the interior, lots of FAR to work with

Con's: definitely not the best way to spend this kind of money, not the best-possible look at the inside on the listing

Ideally: this price isn't even close in our book with what else is out there, but - ironically - past a certain price, pricing isn't even the issue anymore

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

SRO Conversion: 473 Clinton Avenue

It's interesting to us that we held up 473 Clinton Avenue as a more informative listing than 338 Clinton Avenue, but on its own, the 473 Clinton Avenue listing is still pretty sorry for a $2.2M property. In fact, they did a better job uploading 3 in-focus pictures on their listing for a $299K co-op. Doing a worse job for 7 times the commission? Sounds like another Wednesday in Brooklyn real estate to us. We're afraid to even sully the blog with these grainy pictures. It's not sure if this is even their listing. But don't let the mailed-in job from the agent fool ya - this is a great property (especially at a lower price) even though they're doing their darndest not to tell anybody...

Purchased back in 2005 for $850K, it was then converted from a 10 unit SRO in 2006 to a 3-Family, supposedly with a new 6th floor, using what looks like a construction loan of $700K. It was later listed as 3 individual condos in the spring of 2009 with a combined price of $2.769M. That didn't do the trick, and now the whole thing is for sale for $2.2M after trying $2.34M for a few months in fall 2010. They've even taken a stab at renting them. Looks like a small developer looking to just get out. Compare this to the lighting-fast condo conversion turn-around on St. Marks, and its jealous neighbor.

It almost hurts us to give 473 Clinton Avenue this much press, and track down pictures of it they couldn't even be bothered to take themselves. We have to agree with Will Ferrell's notorious take on Robert Goulet and rap, "I know one thing we all can agree on, when a professional gets his mits on a song, that's when it really takes off."

Or when he says, "Hey, you wouldn't hire a clown to fix a leak in the john, so why you let these hooligans tear down the biz'??" So what is this owner doing handing a $2M+ listing to some jokers that couldn't even give it better pictures than the rental listing? And what's a buyer in this price range doing even giving this place a glance if nobody's making the case for them? Besides, there's 10 places better than this for this price or less, including a handful of places just a few blocks from here with far superior listings for buyers to see. Yup, just another day in Brooklyn...

Pro's: landmarked block, top-to-bottom renovation with original details, working fireplace, backyard, close to the train

Con's: 18' wide, curb appeal, price, somebody else's renovation, listing does it no justice, way better places for this much cash

Ideally: the seller might actually fetch this price if anyone looking in this area knew they were alive, but another advantage falls in the forest on deaf ears

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wild Wild West: 603 Vanderbilt Avenue

We've always told you Brooklyn real estate is the Wild West - now we have the proof! Step right into 603 Vanderbilt Avenue and swoop up your own private saloon:

That's right, this mixed-use building on the corner of Vanderbilt Avenue and Bergen Street is the home of Branded Saloon and 4 nice rentals on top. Purchased in 2006 for $1.3M, now asking $2.5M, "it is a blend of early 1900's brownstone architecture improved by an innovative two-story addition and a penthouse in 2007" that now nets over $150K/year. That certainly isn't enough for the likes of reader "Park Slope Landlord", who wasn't too impressed by the $165K/year gross income on 364 Union Street, but you can't please all the people all the time. At least this place justifies it's $2M+ asking price better than, say, 338 Clinton Avenue. Corcoran sure does a good job. We hate to keep congratulating them for stuff they're supposed to do, as Chris Rock is apt to point out, but compared to some of the other jokers out there doing it, we can't help but appreciate their professionalism. We wonder what's going on with the garages along the Bergen side of this property. It's not immediately clear to us if those garages have been transformed into one of the apartments mentioned. The last time we walked by, it looked like the owner had taken advantage and added some value there too. We tip our cap to a great property and a great listing.

Pro's: location, large turnkey mixed use property, rental income potential, bustling block

Con's: the price isn't a deal or anything, requires hefty capital to acquire, all the upside's cooked in

Ideally: if you want a gorgeous 6-cap in a great location with some top-notch apartments, you'll be hard-pressed to beat this

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Barrel Front Limestone Can't Sell: 141 Lefferts Avenue

Our first look into Prospect Lefferts Gardens is a barrel front limestone in a nice row of them, just two avenues over from the park and the train, that can't sell in the mid-to-high $800K's. 141 Lefferts Avenue is a legal 2-Family that listed with Corcoran in December 2009 for $899K. 6 months of that didn't do the trick, so it listed with Brooklyn Properties for $879K and was Brownstoner's House of the Day back in June 2010. Property Shark shows another listing in November 2010 for $879K again. Now it appears with and on Zillow with Fillmore for $849K. Is this the price?

If this was the price range, and pre-war was the game, we might go here before we go to Greenwood or Sunset, just for proximity to Prospect Park. And maybe someone looking in Bed-Stuy might prefer the proximity to the park here too. You could also pick around south Slope in this price range to find better interior and worse exterior. Looks like the building was purchased in 2009 for $535K and new mechanicals & a rental-grade renovation were added to soup-up the retainable original details like parquet floors and pocket doors. Is this better than a 2BR apt on the other side of the park? We're not familiar enough with this neighborhood yet to even say.

Pro's: curb appeal, original details, close the park & train

Con's: not the first place to spend this kind money, rental grade finishes on the renovation

Ideally: we'd rather be on that outer edge of Clinton Hill for this price range, but that's just us

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Open House Today: 1618 8th Avenue

A gorgeous 3-Family brick building on 8th Avenue in Park Slope wouldn't last long at $1.599M if everyone knew it was for sale and everyone knew what they were selling. That's why Corcoran's "priced to sell" 27 Park Place won't last long, even though one reader tells us it's "a total gu[t]." 1618 8th Avenue has an open house from 1:30pm - 2:15pm today. This is a short window to get in and see a place that could be a great buy for someone. Maybe they're expecting it to be short & sweet. The listing tells us that "with a little TLC" it "can be lovingly transformed into your dream home." And the few pictures of the interior we do get show a nice living room with crown molding...

And a pretty generic, dated kitchen...

Besides how well they market their properties and service their listings, at this price point Corcoran would give you a layout and number of bedrooms at least. Here we're not even told there's 3,000 sqft and not sure why house hunting is sometimes still a guessing game in the million and a half dollar range. To this day, it boggles our mind.

Afterall, this isn't a $1,200 studio rental on Craigslist, people! All the buyers we know who can afford a purchase of this magnitude are savvy, discerning folks and deserve to be treated accordingly. They also have a right to know what they're getting into. So why do they have to call random agents all over town just to squeeze basic info out of them? Is it too much to ask for a listing to do an extremely expensive property justice? 338 Clinton Avenue, we're looking at you. You get more details on a listing for a $20K used Honda Accord on! And to think, this agent stands to net at least $20K on the purchase of 1618 8th Avenue alone.

For just a touch less money, we might rather go with the nearby, much larger 502 Prospect Avenue that has an open house tomorrow. But it's a matter of taste there too. Or you could go to Prospect Heights or Clinton Hill for equally gorgeous housing stock and WAY more bang for your buck.

Pro's: location, curb appeal, nice interior at times, open house, not on everyone's radar

Con's: needs TLC, pretty short open house window, maybe not the best in breed, "brother, can you spare a layout?"

Ideally: there's lots out there in this price range, so be selective, but this is the perfect place for someone, in spite of this half-baked listing

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bed-Stuy Double Duplex: 315 Macon Street

2 stops into Bed-Stuy from Clinton Hill on the A/C train takes you to 315 Macon Street, where you get a double duplex 2-Family at a $799K price point that seems appealing for a tree-lined brownstone block. We're still getting a feel for Bed-Stuy though, and the echoes of an over-eager push there can still be heard. Afterall, this property was picked up just after the crash in December '08 for $660K and had a Lis Pendens filed for $528K by the following December. It was then sold in a short sale for $350K in March of this year, with what looks like an additional $300K construction loan. The listing now boasts "two move-in ready duplexes", "stainless steel appliances", and "a recent renovation has restored many original details." You'd think they'd want to show off the interior for the $300K renovation they did. If you just spent $300K on something and took months of work to do it, wouldn't you wanna show it off? Especially if you were trying to sell it to someone else for almost $800K? It's like that old classic...

If we're going to spend this kind of money in Bed-Stuy, we'd want the absolute best in breed, and there's no way to tell if this is it. This listing is much cheaper than our last post in Clinton Hill with no pictures, but the concept is identical. At only 2,385 sqft, you might be able to pick up two nice condos for this same price - and you know that's the exact opposite of what we ordinarily recommend. 315 Gates Avenue, for example, is in a more prime location with luxury interiors, low maintenance, and FHA approval - at only a slightly higher price per square foot than 315 Macon. Oh, and did we mention, you can SEE the inside of 315 Gates??

315 Gates certainly got the memo; people want to SEE something for their hundreds of thousands of dollars. Sorry, 315 Macon - step ya game up!

Pro's: curb appeal, tree lined block, close to the train, recent renovation, double duplex is a good 2-Fam layout

Con's: no pictures, not best of breed, someone else's short sale, could be fly-by-night renovation, not even that large

Ideally: there's gotta be something better in Bed-Stuy for this price with pictures. We'd even pick around Clinton Hill. And at much lower prices, 315 Gates has been selling off the shelves and has gotten rave reviews from owners and tenants alike.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sticker Shock: 338 Clinton Avenue

We love Clinton Hill for all kinds of reasons - the incredible native architecture, the bubbling up of new businesses, the Pratt influence, the value over all kinds of other neighborhoods, Brooklyn Flea, not getting mowed down by strollers yet the hipster-y vibe is so much tamer than the likes of Billyburg. With the bargains still left to be had around $1M, it's almost like Park Slope housing quality at Bed-Stuy prices. But it's not all milk & honey either. Lots of places with nice interiors want price points you might see in Carroll Gardens & Park Slope, like 59 Cambridge. And for many buyers they probably should go to those places if they have that cash, unless something's really calling your name or you know what superior value proposition you're getting into. What, then, is a brand-new listing in Clinton Hill doing at $2M with no pictures and no rent roll?

338 Clinton Avenue is a 2-Family used as a 5-Family, while Property Shark will tell you it's a 4-Family. The listing has it at 23' x 50' with 5,500 sqft, while Property Shark has it as 21' x 50' with 4,442. These aren't the most puzzling discrepancies, granted. However, after you've untangled that knot, you at least wanna see what your $2M is getting, right? Wrong. There are no pictures and no rent roll to be found. Not even the rose colored glasses pro forma rent roll Massey Knakal is often known to wish upon a star with on their set-ups. To be fair, the place looks great from the outside, not many properties this big on this great a block come to market that often. But even this half-baked listing for 473 Clinton Avenue is a better stab at fetching $2M and up than 338 Clinton is. 338 Clinton is a giant among men, with not much reason to back it up.

Pro's: size, curb appeal, great landmarked block

Con's: no pictures, no rent roll, high price, 2-Fam used as a 5

Ideally: they've got some explaining to do, but this may not be a bad play at all after a haircut. We'd put in you in 5 places better than this in Park Slope for this price or less before you should even nibble at this though.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Closings of Note: Park Slope & Friends

290 8th Street, a nice 2-Family with a garden atrium in prime Park Slope closed on 9/26/2011 for $1.445M. This was just a touch lower than its latest asking price of $1.475M after orginally listing in May 2011 for $1.575M and then dropping in June.

158 Garfield Place sold for $1.62M on 9/21/11. This Park Slope 8-Family has a great exterior and some pretty killer income. Marcus & Millichap keep their listings pretty under-cover for the most-part, though. Even still, they were proud to announce:

"The appetite for well located, rent stabilized multifamily assets in Park Slope is insatiable... In a matter of 30 days, we generated 30 offers in writing and were able to negotiate a completely non contingent contract $95,000 above our asking price. This is the most competitive we’ve seen buyers in over two years.

1080 Dean Street listed for $695K in April 2011. This 4-Family brownstone on a pretty block in Crown Heights, just over from Prospect Heights, closed above asking price for $770K on 9/22/2011.

36 Cambridge Place, a 3-Family frame house used as a 2, with incredible interior details closed for $1.715M on 9/21/2011 after listing for $1.725M in May.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Quickly In Contract: 364 Union Street

It's not everyday we cover a property as high as $2.5M, but it's also not everyday you see a great-looking, turnkey place with decent income and lots of upside potential for $333/sqft in Carroll Gardens. 364 Union Street hit the market in August, was barely marketed from what we can tell, and quickly went into contract with multiple back-up offers in about a month. It's not everyday you can get a gorgeous brick building that's almost 7,500 sqft in this prime of an area. In a neighborhood where decent end-user 2-4 Family properties can command $2.5M and up, and where 3BR apartments can rent for much more than the average rent here of $2,750/month, and the median condo price is $700/sqft, and nice condos can command much more than that, this place has huge potential as a buy & hold or a condo conversion. It's no surprise it didn't last long and that so many people put in back-ups. The cell phone tower on top may actually bring in additional income.

The space inside looks totally turnkey, and nothing special either...

But the HUGE 22' x 67' floorplate gives anybody who knows what they're doing lots to work with. We think without even lifting a finger, there's plenty of upside in these rents anyways.

Pro's: location, curb appeal, size, 3BR's plus den on each apt, rental income potential, rental upside, condo conversion candidate

Con's: lots of money needed to acquire, went quickly, cell phone tower on top might give some the willies

Ideally: this was on our radar early for Platinum Members. The best properties go fast, gotta be ready to strike.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wouldn't Be the Worst: 27 Park Place

27 Park Place wouldn't be the worst thing you could get in Park Slope for $1.399M. As we saw on 238 Bergen Street, $1.6M is the new $1.2M (or even $1.75M) in the nicer parts of town - and sometimes even in no man's land. 27 Park Place is on a nice block, only 16' wide, only a 2-Family, but we have to agree with the listing that it "is priced to sell." If you have money for more, you should get more, but this is about the best value you're going to see in the Slope for this price. Especially with things like Fred Flintstone's place quickly going into contract for $1.3M.

You're not going to see 3,000+ sqft of better-than-salvageable, unencumbered, nice brick in this nice of a location that often for this price. You may or may not like how they opened up the floor plan pretty severe, and we mean they took out the floor...

Collect your below-market $1,775/month from the garden apartment and put a little TLC into the owner's triplex, and you'll really have yourself something. Lots of listings with deceptively-low price points in Park Slope require some serious reading between the lines to know what you're getting and why, like 135 St. Johns Place. However, you've got a pretty straightforward play here on Park Place that we don't imagine lasting long.

Pro's: curb appeal, location, price, great floors, 3 working wood burning fireplaces

Con's: 16' wide, 2-Family needs TLC, might need reconfiguring to maximize its potential

Ideally: this is a great value and worth a look

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Skinny Slice of Vinyl Siding: 413A Prospect Avenue

Welcome to South Slope, where people can flee the high prices of Park Slope and get just off the beaten path at a value, right? Ooops, unfortunately, maybe not anymore. 413A Prospect Avenue is a 13' wide, vinyl siding 2-Family that wants what a great brick 3-Family in other neighborhoods might cost you, $999K. Don't get us wrong, we'd love to be this close to the park, the F train, and this stretch of Prospect Park West - but is this the way to do it? At first glance this seems like a tiny, mispriced place, but look a little deeper...

The listing gives us 8 photos, a break down of the rent roll, a floorplan, the property address, lots of details about the way-decent renovation, and even valuable information for potential buyers such as the building "could be delivered occupied, partially or completely vacant." Using the building as a 3-Family has increased rents substantially, we always love skylights, and the wooden deck in the backyard is a nice touch. This house surprisingly feels like a home.

With bigger places asking less money in Clinton Hill, and with one of the best buys in Brooklyn dangling out in Fort Greene for less than this, we can't say this is best of breed or anything, but at $491/sqft we can see value here for someone as a condo alternative. Both of these listings, however, are living under a rock. So, if an incredible deal falls in the forest, does it make a sound?

Pro's: location, totally turnkey, decent renovation, wooden deck & backyard, used as a 3-Family for income, flexible tenancy

Con's: curb appeal, 13' wide, financing the used-as-a-3-Family might be tricky, a much better deal is waiting in Fort Greene

Ideally: know what you want, know what you're getting, and get the best