Thursday, December 4, 2014

Clinton Hill Fixer-Upper Under $2M: Irving Place

In Clinton Hill, higher housing prices are coming fast & furious.  We've seen renovated 15' footers go for well over $2M, like 368 Grand Avenue.  We've seen 20' wide houses cruise well above $3M, like 384 Vanderbilt Avenue.  We've seen $4M touched on one or two townhomes too (both on AND off-market) like 503 Clinton Avenue.   And ever since the $2M mark has been broken further east in Bed-Stuy, and even a narrow house over there at 242 Gates Avenue has touched $3M, now all the nicest houses in Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights want $1.9M-$2.3M.  Will they get it?  Only the market will tell.  But in this climate, getting something significantly under $2M in Clinton Hill becomes harder and harder.  So you know when one comes up, it's bound to be something gnarly, but if it's vacant and half-way decent, it's worth the look for the right buyer.  Cue this house on Irving Place and Gates Avenue available first on the past few weeks.

Asking $1.6M-$1.7M, this 16' wide four story 3-Family is delivered vacant.  It is in live-able condition, but would need significant upgrades to really optimize it.  There are a lot of dated upgrades, sheet rock walls, etc. that could come down, although a decent extension on the garden is a plus.

On a freezing day last month we saw it; the heat was working just fine.  It doesn't show like anything special and there'll be plenty of griping about the owner's cost basis, but on the retail market this property delivered vacant is the perfect little canvas for somebody.  Owners with similar narrow places all renovated in Clinton Hill are asking $3M+, like a house in the works on Cambridge we toured pre-construction and this one virtually staged at 115 St. James Place asking $3.6M...

Like we always say, by the time it looks the way you want it to look, it won't cost what you want it to cost.  With buyers bidding $2M cash site-unseen for gut projects that are merely bricks & stairs in Clinton Hill, this little ditty on Irving could be just that canvas with at least functioning mechanicals at at a much lower price.  However, even if this house is one of the best situated $1.6M's in town, that also doesn't mean that the rest of the work needed is within everyone's budget.  What's nice at least is that it's easy to tour with our man Elliot Nicks who's got all kinds of early leads on properties just like these.  Even just a few quick fixes and fancy pictures would make all the difference in the world on this place.  Pop off those old awnings in the front & the back, touch up that brownstone facade, pull out carpet, yada yada.  A month spent on a $20K kitchen and a $10K bath would make it the medicine go down closer to $2M.  You know, all the stuff that makes it retail digestible.  But it might not even make it that far before being intercepted.

While we're juggling a handful of contract flips between $1.3M-$1.5M in Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights that are almost impossible to get a showing, it's nice to see something in Clinton Hill perhaps as low as $1.6M that can actually show.  This Irving place will not wow you by any stretch, but nobody said house hunting in "the most unaffordable place to buy a home in America" would come without compromises, y'all!

Pro's:  4-story fixer-upper with garden extension, totally vacant, well under $2M, quiet little block, live-able with heat pumping, not on everyone's radar, relative value in this market, a do-able compromise for the right buyer at the right price

Con's:  narrow, east in Clinton Hill, no great original details to speak of, lots of unsavory little deferred maintenance issues, lots of other major work to be done, small floorplate on upper floors, severe compromise

Ideally:  this isn't anyone's druthers, but it's a nice alternative to houses commanding $1M more than this is asking

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