Thursday, June 19, 2014

Another 2-Bagger on the Bed-Stuy Border: 441 Classon Avenue

Welcome to Brooklyn, where narrow 15'-wide 2-Families can close for a million last June then close over $2M this June.  Let's aspirationally call this Clinton Hill.  Afterall, Corcoran sure does.  After closing last year for $999K, this house at 441 Classon Avenue needed a ton of work and immediately came to market asking $1.495M-$1.395M.  Why not?  If someone's willing to give you half a million more than you paid that week without you putting a penny into it, go for it!  Heck, it costs nothing to ask.  House wasn't much of a looker then though...

It was available on and off-market for some time, for the right price, through various brokers - but by the time the reno's done and Corcoran shows up, that's "the coast is clear" signal for the retail buyers to pack in.  Just like we saw at 17 Chester Court.  Except, 441 Classon Avenue was back out with an asking price of $2.15M.  While that elusive "million dollar live-able fixer upper in Clinton Hill" still rolls off everyone's tongues, in reality this is a 15' wide house closer to the Bed-Stuy end of things asking over $2M, y'all, and commanding it!  People who have never bought a piece of real estate in their lives swear they're going to run laps around experienced developers whose full-time job is sourcing properties cheap all-cash, renovating them with & without permits, and bringing them to the pre-market or retail market.  If you can do it better than them, then you do it.  But until then, they'll just sit back at home in Great Neck and gladly sell it to you for twice what they paid for it.  The house closed this month for over $2M to buyers from around the corner on Greene Avenue.  Sure cleans up nicer in pics than it used to...

The renovation was dubbed way-generic by people we spoke to.  But they hit the high notes with some floors, sliding door to a generic backyard with bright red mulch, higher-than-usual finishes in the kitchen for this breed of developer.  Pretty much the usual, with a slightly more snazzy twist.  File this price under the same "shock & awe" category as 196 Hancock & 22 Arlington Place both going over $2M in Bed-Stuy proper.  Ostensibly, to be closer to Clinton Hill, there'll be a trade off.  In this case it was width and quality of the reno.   An even better, wider, Clinton Hill/Bed-Stuy tweener at 84 Lexington Avenue was already long gone by the time 441 Classon got the Corcoran treatment.  We heard about this 441 contract price when it happened, which was some food for thought for Platinum Members who were in the midst of taking down another narrow 2-Family on this same block with a better renovation that wasn't going to hit the market, even though it easily could have.  Gotta love wading in the the dark pools of this market!  The Platinum Members' contract price is significantly lower, and the owner figures he doesn't need to give the rest of the upside over to Corcoran for no reason.  In a high-demand, low-inventory market like this, these houses pretty much sell themselves.  But if you still need a big broker to hold your hand, keep in mind that holding doesn't come cheap.

Pro's:  totally renovated quintessential 2-Family, backyard, actual listing, "Clinton Hill at Bed-Stuy prices!", didn't go over asking price

Con's:  gone already, 15' wide, renovation isn't for everyone, price is twice what it was last year, not everyone's favorite block, retail pricing

Ideally:  another retail sale for the area that everyone will take time to understand and digest.  Certainly a reassuring comp for those in contract for less on an off-market deal across the street.

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