Sunday, September 16, 2012

Is There Value Left in Boerum Hill?: 2-Family Mystery Meat

Not on your Streeteasy or your New York Times, comes a 2-Family in Boerum Hill that this time last week had no pictures up and no description.  While that has been remedied in the past few days, instead of giving us any information about the property, the listing agent simply told us they weren't co-broking, which we found odd.  First of all, we weren't after any of their commission in the first place.  Second, if you're a member of REBNY, as this broker is, you're obligated to co-broke with another REBNY agent if it is your exclusive listing.  Which led many we know to guess that it's an open listing and not their exclusive.  We even went into their office to discuss with the managing director, who yelled at us and chewed us out for having "no credentials".  (Yours truly is no licensed agent or broker in NY, and never claims to be.)  We won't put them on blast here because "no publicity is bad publicity" - but it's not hard to figure out who we're dealing with.

"Anyone can write a blog," the managing director of their office told us, "But you're just 75 hours away from getting your license."

"Wouldn't that imply that anyone can get a license?" we asked.

But beyond the petty disputes over commission - the sole territory of licensed agents and brokers, not us - it was nice to have an honest debate over how the industry works and what's really in a buyer's and seller's best interest.  And in our humble opinion, shoeing away buyers & posting listings with no pictures or address can't be in the best interest of either.

"Here's what the problem is," we told the manager.  "You brokers think you're the chef, when in reality you're just the waiter."

She asked demeaningly, "And what does that make you, the busboy?"

We proudly said, "Exactly!"

You obviously don't need to take a 75 hour class to know what you're talking about in Brooklyn real estate.  And plenty of people running around with licenses certainly don't know what they're talking about.  So what do you think of a 2-Family under $1.5M around Hoyt and Douglass?  These pictures will not wow you.  We're given no exterior pics (presumably to withold the identity of the building).  But with more than a handful of neighbors asking $1.9M-$3M, this could be a nice value proposition for someone.

We're told you get a duplex with the cellar as one unit, and a 2BR rental on top.

Why so cheap?  Fixer-uppers with character over here have gone in contract with list prices above $1.5M.  One of the best values over here in a long time fell all the way to $1.1M.  Besides the generic interior on this mystery meat home, obviously the projects over here come into play too.  And you're up against less evasive listings with a clear address and an open house today, like 161 Hoyt Street for $1.595M.  But if you want to be close to Smith Street and get rental income to boot, this is about as cheap as it gets for a condo alternative.  Think 400 Bond Street with rental income.

Pro's:  proximity to Smith Street & F/G trains, pricepoint, turnkey-looking interior, probably right in line with the market

Con's:  mystery meat, secretive brokers, no exterior pic, no address, not the prettiest thing you've ever seen, paved backyard, appears to be narrow

Ideally:  if the pics aren't a deal breaker and the price is right, it could be worth a look for someone married to the Smith Street scene without the $2M budget it takes these days

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