Monday, December 17, 2012

Is it OK to be Boudgie Now?: 261 Hancock Street

When Corcoran rolls out the red carpet and gives an emerging neighborhood like Bed-Stuy its blessing, that's "the coast is clear" signal for ballers to descend on a house that always was an historic mansion to begin with, long before Barbara Corcoran or any of us were ever born.  Just about 2 months ago, 261 Hancock Street was packed like sardines - full of big spenders, voyeurs, and would-be townhouse buyers.  Yet out of hundreds of viewers, there can be only one winner.  Cash offers well above the asking price of $949K poured in immediately.  And who can blame them?  Feast your eyes on the wood details, stained-glass windows, and other period details for days that this home has to offer...

Does the house need a ton of mechanical & other upgrades too?  Of course it does!  But that sure didn't stop some people who know a good thing when they see it.

Does this remind you of Park Slope's 833 President Street, except less than half the price?  Of course it does!  And that's no coincidence either.  The same architects that built these mansions for folks to escape the hustle & bustle of Manhattan ~100 years ago designed Bed-Stuy and Park Slope simultaneously.  Sound familiar?  Oh yeah, that's what people are still doing to this day.  Sellers of boring condos in midtown Manhattan are pouncing on relative steals of historic townhomes in these same Brooklyn neighborhoods. Only, this time around, one of the neighborhoods was redlined after the Great Depression, so it's got some catching up to do.  Besides, we've asked it before and we'll ask it again:  who died and made Park Slope the only neighb' in Brooklyn worth living in?  Certainly not the prolific architect Montrose Morris.  He did the house at the corner here on Hancock Street... well as houses in Carroll Gardens and Park Slope.  Ah, Park Slope!  The stuff boudgie dreams are made of.  Except, like Rick Ross' "Archie Bunker", "it's so white I just might charge ya double."

261 Hancock Street is a winner all day long, with or without Corcoran's blessing, with or without would-be buyers priced out of Park Slope shuffling in & out of it.

But the Corcoran effect is undeniable, and who can argue with the results?  The sellers are getting well above their asking price here.  Did they take the highest offer?  Certainly not.  Did they take the offer most likely to close quickly?  Perhaps.  Did they get steered towards the offer most likely to get the listing agent paid double?  A genuine possibility.  Just another day in the Brooklyn real estate game.

Before anyone goes and gets too shocked by any of this pricing, however, let's keep a few things in perspective.  Where else within Metrocard striking distance can you pick up 4 stories this historic for under $1.5M??  People are still staking out Harlem for shells around $2M!  Oh, and have you seen interest rates lately?  Everyone said, "Buy now while rates are still low!" back when rates were in the 6%'s.  They said the same thing when rates were in the 5%'s and even the 4%'s.  Now people are getting 30-year fixed mortgages in the low 3%'s!!  Yes, through the miracle of interest rates, many readers we know are refinancing their homes, taking out more money, while getting a lower monthly payment.  Only in America!

Many will continue to misunderstand & gripe about Bed-Stuy.  "Oh, but the schools!" we always hear them say.  Sure, it's cool.  We've seen people who can't even afford certain neighborhoods look down on the school districts in them, from Fort Greene to Clinton Hill.  So certainly Bed-Stuy's an easy target for this kind of broad-brush criticism.  Don't worry.  By the time you realize that you're not too good for Bed-Stuy, Bed-Stuy might well be too good for you.

Pro's:  curb appeal, sick details for days, amazing block, relative steal

Con's:  packed open house, cash offers above asking price, agent looking out for #1?

Ideally:  over asking price & worth every penny.  Luckily there's plenty more where this came from.

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