Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Platinum Member Closing in Prospect Heights: Park Place Brownstone Gem

A few months ago, we were in a pre-market gem of a house in Park Slope asking well over $3M, when we got the call from someone in the neighborhood about this Prospect Heights gem whose owners wanted to sell for just over $3M.  Two weeks later, Platinum Members were finalizing the deal around that price.  Sellers canceled the open house when the offer came in.  No brokers or big commission necessary.  "Look, ma!  No hands!"

Brace yourself for sick original details for days...

Don't try this on your StreetEasy or your NYTimes.  This is pre-market Prospect Heights at its finest...

We've never seen a bathroom with parquet intact...

And don't forget the extra-deep lot...

The right broker could stage this and get over $3.3M, but sellers do their own things for their own reasons.  Factor out the ~$150K that a big brokerage would look to take out of a deal at this price point and pass the savings onto buyer and seller.  When the owner tell us they don't want to use a broker if they don't have, that's no problem for us.  Who else is playing three-million dollar match-maker for a consulting fee that's less than the fee a rental broker charges for one floor in a house like this?  None other than yours truly.   If you're keeping score at home, that's 4 fixer-uppers this week alone on prime Park Place for over $2.5M sans brokers going down on some of the best blocks in Brooklyn.

Pro's:  amazing curb appeal, stunning brownstone with original details intact, extra-deep yard, totally live-able, affordable upgrades could knock it out of the park, no bidding war or big brokerage necessary

Con's:  gone already, even if it's not tippy-top of market - $3M ain't chump change either

Ideally:  with a little help from the neighborhood lead, this deal was a hole in one.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Platinum Member Closing in Park Slope: 101 Park Place

Don't try this on your StreetEasy or your, but Platinum Members just closed on a great house in Park Slope without a big fancy listing and without a broker.  Not everyone wants to pay 5-6% commission and have a line of folks around the block to get in their house.  And so this great liveable 4-story brownstone delivered vacant sells for a great price for buyer & seller.  101 Park Place has solid bones, some modern upgrades, and is poised to be taken to the next level...

When off-market SRO's two blocks away are going for over $2.8M, you know $2.6M is a great price for a totally live-able house like this.  Buyers coming in all-cash helped facilitate the deal.  And when you factor out the $100K+ commission a big broker would be looking for at these levels, buyer and seller can pass the savings on to themselves.  Just like another deal Platinum Members are closing 3 blocks away that we'll take a look at tomorrow.

Pro's:  totally turnkey 20' wide 4-story brownstone in prime Park Slope, no bidding war or big brokerage needed, solid deal for buyer and seller, fantastic end-user project in the making

Con's:  gone already, you don't find these everyday, took cash to get it done, renovating in the Slope is no joke these days

Ideally:  a great house at a great price in a no-brainer neighborhood?  Just another day in Brooklyn's under-market deals

Monday, July 28, 2014

Prospect Heights Package Supposedly Sold: 218-220 Park Place

Platinum Members have been scheming on this huge, prime Prospect Heights estate sale package "off-market" since we got the call on it last Thanksgiving from a local broker in the area.  It's not everyday that you get two adjacent 5-story townhomes on a prime block, delivered vacant...

Each building 20' wide, with extensions on the rear, and both on extra-extra deep 162' lots.  The buildings are SRO's by some accounts, but have basically been vacant for a long time.  The play is either "throw-away the calculator" end-user townhomes or condos.  Investors griped to us about how ya can't make enough money on them at the asking price that wavered between $2.4M-$2.7M each for months.   Brooklyn doesn't owe ya anything.  So they took their ball and went home.

Many clowns tried to tell us these can't sell for ~$1M per floor as condos.  But look no further than directly across the street where 215 Park Place just did just that:

Roof deck?  No-brainer!

Not a year or two from now, not speculation, but now.  In present times.  These get $1M/floor.  Which isn't a surprise if you've been hunting in Brooklyn since the days of 96 St. Marks Avenue, when you could still get 4 floors for a million and sell each one for basically a million a piece.

Can you build an extension on the back of 218-220 Park Place?  Maybe, maybe not - just ask 115 Lincoln Place, which has spooked many people about the likelihood of extensions.  An extension would just be bonus, not a deal-breaker, and there's plenty of bonus in the extra-extra deep lot and the existing extensions.

So while the glass was more than half full, people were looking the gift horse in the mouth.  Platinum Member end-users were willing to go up to $2.7M for just one of them, but it would take an investor/developer to take on both of them.

That's until a 3rd property in Harlem was thrown in the mix, also delivered vacant...

So a 2 building package for ~$5M became a 3 building package for ~$8M in the space of an afternoon.  An accepted offer of $7.75M for the package dilly-dallied too long.  There were deals brewing later for $7.9M-$8M, then we heard multiple accounts of a deal at $8.6M, and the broker tells us this weekend that's where the deal landed.  $2.86M each might look and sound like a super lofty price, but there's still a lot of meat on the bone in this market, even if some of it got chewed up on the march to this higher price.

Maybe you missed neighbors like 181 Park Place, which was a steal in retrospect even when $2M felt lofty at the time.  Or there was 204 Park Place earlier this year for $3.6M in way-generic condition.  Or 206 Park Place for $4.3M last year.

218-220 Park Place, even in estate condition had a ton to offer.  Tall ceilings, original details, a sick location, a great block, great trains a block away...

If you want a unique townhouse with grand proportions in a prime neighborhood, it doesn't get much better than this.  Investors still griped about the price a million dollars cheaper, that just shows you how hot property is right now.  Platinum Members who wanted one of these at $2.7M got an even better opportunity a block away for less that we'll take a look at tomorrow.  All's well that ends well, and this estate certainly cashed in large.  Won't believe it 'til we see it close with our own eyes, but with $3M-$4M properties going on all around, will they look back and think this "lofty" price is cheap some day?

Pro's:  two adjacent 5-story historic townhomes in different styles, with original details, delivered vacant, in a great location, not on everyone's radar, huge lot, existing extensions

Con's:  gone already, takes a ton of cash to acquire & renovate, package couldn't be broken up, with landmarks these days extension is iffy, SRO status is another rub, price bubbled up over time

Ideally:  someone with deep pockets is making a solid move on flagship pieces for the long-haul, or maybe just dividing and flipping.  Only time will tell...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Off-Market Bed-Stuy 3-Family: Malcolm X Boulevard

In its first month, our new site has sent incredible for sale by owner and sell-curious owner leads our way.  Last week we saw 8 homes in one day, all asking between $3.2M and $7M - and the $7M house has offers above asking price already in pre-market!  That's Brooklyn for ya these days.  So it's refreshing to see a Bed-Stuy 3-Family fixer-upper like this house on the 100-block of Malcolm X Boulevard, asking $895K.  For now, this home is available exclusively on  The house is delivered vacant, has been vacant for some time, and needs plenty of work.  But it has original mantles, tile, shutters, ceiling medallions, and wainscoting that buyers we saw it with were eager to restore.  The curb appeal is intact in our book, and arched-brick construction in the cellar is a good sign too.  With the investors priced out, we think an end-user takes on this project for the right price.

Afterall, 124 Malcolm X Boulevard got over asking price, closing for $999K in May of this year.  And another 3-story, 98A Malcolm X Boulevard got $1.079M 2 months earlier.  Could this be the next house to trade on this block?

Everyone says they want a fixer-upper in Bed-Stuy under a million, but most of those are swooped up by investors, all-cash in a flash, and renovating them isn't as easy as it looks.  But here's one just out of reach for the investors, so have at it!

Pro's:  curb appeal, original details, delivered vacant, not asking over a million, no big broker open houses on the scene, legal 3-Family

Con's:  needs a ton of work, further into Bed-Stuy than many are ready for, finished product flips going for 10-20% more

Ideally:  it'll take time, money, and know-how to optimize this house, but for all those who hate on generic flipper renovations, here's your chance to try one on for size yourself

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

HomeCanvasr Listing Sold Before Hitting Open Market: 116 Bainbridge Street

Don't try a purchase like this on your StreetEasy, your New Times, your Trulia, Zillow, or Brownstoner.  Platinum Members were scoping this Stuyvesant Heights limestone gem at 116 Bainbridge Street months ago pre-renovation between $1.5M-$1.6M.  When no one stepped up high enough, the owner ostensibly wanted to finish their renovation and shoot for a higher price.  Available on post-renovation for a month now in the $1.795M range, we told Curbed it probably wouldn't make it to the open market - and it didn't.  The property is in contract around full asking price, all cash, and closing any day now.  Last month, the reno was turning out better than we'd expected...

Quintessential 3-Family with owner's duplex on the bottom and two rentals up top.  An extension on the parlor with the kitchen and still a nice yard.  All on one of the sickest blocks in Stuyvesant Heights, and for much less than a 260 Decatur Street.  You'll think you're in Park Slope when you walk down this block.  In a nice row of limestones...

You get that Magnus Dahlander without going over $5M.  Even in the winter, the view out the window is gold...

Over $1.7M cash in Bed-Stuy... are we even surprised anymore?  Also another demonstration that properties sell before they hit the market on a regular basis, even if the plan was to hit the market all along.  And if the nay-sayers still don't know by now, they'd better ASK somebody!

Pro's:  full-sized renovated historic limestone gem on great block, near the train, about as good as east Bed-Stuy gets, available without a packed open house, better reno than we were expecting

Con's:  not on everyone's radar, price bubbled up as reno came long, not the configuration everyone wanted, already gone all-cash full-ask

Ideally:  considering the pricing on a gut like 259 Decatur Street, this is a steal - as shocking as that sounds  

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bed-Stuy Loft Condo Hits the Market: 689 Myrtle Avenue

Platinum Members have purchased in Bed-Stuy's "The Chocolate Factory" condos before.  Now another unit hits the market at 689 Myrtle Avenue that's bound to have a few buyers ready for it.  As seen first on, weighing in at over 1,300 sqft, with 18' ceilings, a common roof deck with a garden and sick windowed-out gym... the asking price of $889K makes condos a mile & half north in Williamsburg for $1.2M look silly.  See for yourself...

Get your skyline views on from the friendly confines of northwest Bed-Stuy...

With some new construction condos in Bed-Stuy closing for $700-$800/sqft and up, $660/sqft is looking pretty enticing.  Plus maintenance under $700/month.

The only potential hold-ups are that, although it has 2 baths, it's only got a "den" as the 2nd bedroom.  Also, it's on the first floor.  And you can still get railroad apartments under $800K in Prospect Heights.  Although nothing as grand as this.

Pro's:  huge loft condo under $900K, modern renovation, great price per square foot, low monthly fees, sick amenities in the building

Con's:  it's not Williamsburg, it's not on an upper floor, worse condos can be had for cheaper in better neighborhoods

Ideally:  at the right price, we don't see this lasting long.  Pratt grads with a little help from the 'rents should be pouncing...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Listings: Clinton Hill Home Hits the Market - 394 Vanderbilt Avenue

New to the Listings section of the blog, it's a 4-story fixer-upper in prime Clinton Hill at 394 Vanderbilt Avenue.  When we toured the place yesterday, we instantly said, "It's a wrap."  Can't really hate on the price given what's going on all around town.  Full-sized house on a great little block with original details.  The house needs work to really make the most of it, but don't they all?  After spending the day at Ikea and Home Depot to fix-up a rental in Crown Heights with a bidding war, we were eager to sink our teeth into 394 Vanderbilt.  Above our pay-grade, but somebody's gonna deck this place out.

Nice lil' yard...

Solid arched-brick construction...

Original mantles throughout...

(Child-sized Benzo & sweet tattoo parlor not included)

Convert the oil to gas before the winter sets in, even modestly update the kitchens & baths, expose & refinish the original floors... and you're looking at house that people would pay over $3M for.  Platinum Members were in one those pre-market two weeks ago.  394 Vanderbilt Avenue is not priced for an investor and it doesn't yet look like what an end-user wants to post up in as-is, but someone's likely to take this down for a nice price and make the most of a great house for the next 25 years.  Heck, a Prospect Heights fixer-upper the broker tells us has rent controlled tenants just went up for more than this asking price of $2.5M.  Platinum Members closing on an even nicer vacant house in Park Slope proper for $2.6M gotta be loving the comparable activity all around.  And a more finished product available off-market only on around the corner for $2.4M-$2.6M is starting to look like a comparative steal too.  And if you don't think fixer-uppers are going for over $3M in Fort Greene & Clinton Hill, don't take our word for it, ask a guy who's sold two this year.

Pro's:  pretty prime location, full-sized 4-story, delivered vacant, easily optimized as a top-notch 2-Family, quintessential 2-Family in the making

Con's:  needs work, not staged all sparkly, some floors in mid-reno already, takes over $2M to play ball these days on these blocks

Ideally:  in the land of even fixer-uppers soaring over $3M cash, the live-able house for $2.5M is king