Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Falling Up the Stairs, Pt. II: 306 Clermont Avenue

One of Fort Greene's most affordable 3-Families is gone.  After many years of struggling to fetch $1.6M-$1.8M after the crash, and after months of a stint last year asking as high as $2.6M (then $2.4M, then entertaining offers as low as $2.1M-$2.2M as recently as a few weeks ago) with Corcoran - even though a foreclosure auction was looming and being postponed every few months - 306 Clermont Avenue has finally gone in foreclosure auction last week for $1.7M, set to close within a few weeks.  This is the neighbor and ironically twin situation to 308 Clermont Avenue, another saga we've covered over the years, which closed last spring for $1.7M too.  Just like 308, the 306 Clermont owner postponed and postponed the inevitable, and had plenty of chances to get out from under his debt and walk away with some profit and no foreclosure.  But when you're falling, it's not always easy to decide where you land.  Platinum Members were stalking this bad-boy all the way thru, ever since the owner was a FSBO looking for "no investors" and "no vestors"...

Then Corcoran had a few pre-market pocket showings last year before putting the listing out properly.  Then they put together a "meh" listing compared to their usual standards, where they went to lengths to assure buyers this property is "far from a lump of coal."  Any look inside is better than none, and the house is totally legit, especially for this price.  There was a rub, however, on the listing which demanded, "ALL CASH BUYER ONLY."  That's because they were postponing foreclosure and claimed to need well over a million in cash (at least) to get the bank off their heels before they could even begin to start counting proceeds for the owner and broker.

Just under 18' wide with an owner's duplex and 2 floor-thru's on top, a short yard, and few original details worth keeping.  This is about as nice as it gets under $2M in Fort Greene.  Those who hated on it can expect to spend well over $2M for anything significantly better, and even worse things can command $2M+ if anyone knows about them.  But when off-market properties fall in the Fort Greene forest, do they make a sound?

It's funny to see owners and brokers playing hardball with offers over $2M who are willing to bend over backwards to get the bank off the owner's tail, only to sell for $1.7M at auction.  You may think you're holding all the cards when you're dealing with a lot of cash and a seller who's only other option is foreclosure auction, but that presumes the seller isn't crazy enough to go down with the ship.  It takes years and years for a property to actually hit those courthouse steps, but eventually the music does stop.  Just goes to show, if you don't know what you're doing, whether it's the best of times or the worst of times in the market, you may end up missing out on your own equity.

Pro's:  prime Fort Greene 3-Family brownstone at last year's prices, original details, totally live-able if not fairly turnkey, steep discount to the Corcoran asking price

Con's:  gone already, sale process was a sh*t-show that played out over years, facade's crumbling, yard isn't great, needs work to optimize, foreclosure sale pretty much requires cash

Ideally:  buyers who tenaciously chased the deal came out on top.

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