Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pricing a Shell: 242 Cumberland Street

Once upon a time in 2004, the flagship Park Slope beauty that is now 178 Garfield Place - the home that everyone gushes over - that listed for $3.75M and just closed "for an even $4M" in a bidding war, was just a lowly shell for $1.3M. Granted, the house is on a great block. But with the help of Cousin John, now the place "twankles & glistens" on the cover of design magazines. Yet here we are in 2012, with some shells still out there for sale for ~$1.3M on some great blocks. What's the catch? Fixer-uppers on Garfield Place fetch $2M+ now, who hasn't swooped up these last remaining ~$1.3M shells?

242 Cumberland Street wants $1.35M on one of the quintessentially great blocks right off the park in Fort Greene. Amidst a backdrop of a handful of mediocre listings that want $2M+, 242 Cumberland looks like it could be a great canvas for someone to do their own renovation. It's vacant & it's not an SRO. Tenants & SRO-status held back another great shell on another great block in Park Slope, 135 St. Johns Place, which also started out at $1.3M. All we get is one glimpse inside of 242 Cumberland and a simple, straightfoward listing that reads like a telegraph:

"Location, Location, Location...
Design your own home just half a block from Fort Green Park. Bring your contractor and architect. Cash offers only please.

The agents are very honest & forthcoming about what a complete overhaul the place needs, quoting a renovation budget as high as $1M. If you're going to drop that kind of money, we'd wanna make sure to get the biggest canvas you can. 242 Cumberland may not make the cut. The owners picked it up this time last year at a foreclosure auction for $1.2M, and unfortunately that doesn't leave much room for them to profit, or a potential buyer to get any flexibility on this price. Our hunch is the right user is out there if the house were marketed a little better.

Pro's: killer location, only so many houses left over here, blank canvas

Con's: takes a ton of cash to buy, a ton of cash to renovate, small, a true shell, no price flexibility

Ideally: no house in a good location at this price in this market comes without some drawbacks, but those who can overcome the obstacles on the best ones will end up with great purchases


  1. Also of note, a walking tour with this house was also featured on "Save the Slope" 2 years ago:

    Remind me again what we're "saving" the Slope from? Seems to be doing quite alright from what we can tell.