Thursday, November 10, 2011

Topics: The House Whisperer

[Celebrating our 250th post!!]

We don't usually bother with houses over $3M, but we couldn't help but notice when one of the often-published renovations of a long-time reader & member of the BK to the Fullest team goes on sale. John Buchbinder, whose handle is "johnsailor" here, founded Grand Renovation, and has been fixing, rehabbing, and restoring homes in Brooklyn for decades. He spoke to us about the renovation he did on this house at 178 Garfield Place, which he says was really "a dump" when the owners bought it, and that the purchase price around $1.3M would be adventurous "even in today's terms."

John says this "complete gut" included "entirely new mechanicals, heating, air conditioning, plumbing, electrical." He acknowledges what a unique taste the renovation has, and that it's not for everyone [a fact the always-snarky commenters on Brownstoner are quick to disparage it for]. John adds, "But it's in a primo spot," and the high-profile owner will definitely help it attract more attention.

We like to think of John as "The House Whisperer". He walks into a house and instantly knows more about what's going on than the brokers, home inspectors, even the owners themselves. He can take a condemned building and turn it into something fit for walking house tours and interior design magazines. He can instantly diagnose a building and give incredible estimates of options to remedy any problems or simply to "pimp your ride". He was able to diagnose 419 Sterling for its buyers, who were able to confidently step ahead of the crowded open house with their bid and now are getting one of the best purchases in that neighborhood all year. He can tell you if a wall is load bearing, how the slanted floors can be fixed, how affordable it can be to cut a new skylight into the roof or floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors leading out to the back deck. He can restore original details or rock an all-out modern extension.

If you've got a problem-house that needs the healing powers of The House Whisperer, there's nobody else in the biz doing it like John.

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