Saturday, September 8, 2012

Flip or Be Flipped: 588 Franklin Avenue

When you think about purchasing in Prospect Heights around $1.5M, do you think "gorgeous 2-Family restored with all the fixin's on a great residential block around the corner from the 2/3 train"?  Well, that was two years ago, so you can scratch that.  The next year you needed $1.4M just to get a fixer-upper on that same block.  This year you need $1.6M for a fixer-upper on that block.  We're willing to bet when searching Prospect Heights at these pricepoints what you don't think is "vacant, boarded-up, on the edge of Crown Heights, right on a busy stretch of Franklin Avenue with cars that just crossed Atlantic Avenue zooming by."  But that's what the flippers of 588 Franklin Avenue are happy to bring you.

Since 2004, this home has seen a few purchase prices that didn't work out for its owners, selling in pre-foreclosure a few times.  While some were still sleeping on Franklin Avenue as recently as last year, some great purchases were being made right here at 581 Franklin Avenue, and around the corner at 1077 Dean Street & 1054 Dean Street.  And poor ol' 588 Franklin was out for well under $1M for a long time last year.  They swooped it up for a paltry $580K in June of this year, and now they're quickly happy to offer it for $1.4M mid-renovation.  Why has the price doubled?  Well, the renovation's coming along just fine... right?

This is truly an adventure in "Extreme Homes".  Not that these guys don't deliver on their "you bid now, we fix later" promises, but it can certainly feel like shaky ground in this already high-stakes game where it's hard to trust anyone.  And this price isn't a steal or anything.  You can get a pimped-out corner two family with a garage and an even better renovation for this price around the corner from the Franklin 2/3/4/5 trains, on a more residential block, and in the more preferable stretch of this recently-booming avenue.  So if you're still thinking "gorgeous 2-Family restored with all the fixin's on a great residential block around the corner from the 2/3 train" - we've got you covered - just one train stop further down.  588 Franklin is just 20' x 40' on an 80' lot and looks pretty far away from stainless steel appliances and granite counters so far to us.  If you could buy this place today for $580K yourself and put your own reno into it, would you?  On this deal, we'd pass.  As a flip, even worse.

But PLEASE don't sleep on "Pro-Cro".  Just this week we see the budget brokers of Weichert setting up shop on Nostrand:

When we saw Connecticut Muffin going in on Nostrand, we told Platinum Members, "There goes the neighborhood."  A few days later, the Brownstoners agreed.  This week, Platinum Members toured a huge, vacant limestone around the corner from the Nostrand stop that will be a killer renovation project for someone - and will make a cash-cow 8-Family after a ton of renovation and a little restoration.

Pro's:  umm...

Con's:  busy avenue, pricepoint, someone else's flip, small-ish floor plate & lot, bidding on a mid-renovation piece?

Ideally:  don't write these quick & dirty flips off entirely, but make sure you go in with eyes open.  And if you sleep on a hood, don't be surprised when someone else doesn't.

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