Wednesday, April 1, 2015

It is April, but We Ain't Foolin': 1132 Bergen Street

As Crown Heights continues its ascent into Brooklyn neighborhood legitimacy among those who are picky about these things, and makes up for generations of lost time, the prices for the best houses with the shiniest listings from only a year or two ago are becoming the prices for today's SRO's with mail-it-in listings.  Case in point, 1132 Bergen Street hitting the market as a 3-Family for $1.85M - 'cause, why not, right? - with nothing more than a Google Maps street view exterior photo.  It's been over a year since a stellar Crown Heights renovation and a $2M+ listing at 1234 Dean Steet a block away sent shockwaves and closed for $1.85M cash.  We're told that without lingering SRO issues on the C of O (although not configured that way at all) it could've gone to other buyers for $2M.  But that took months of marketing and shiny pictures and a real servicing of the listing from a big broker.  Fast forward to today and anything 4-stories under $2M is worth throwing up on the wall and seeing what sticks, it would seem.

The block is hot in this row of 5 limestones, once featured as Building of the Day on Brownstoner, which even managed to dig up some O.G. literature on the houses...

If it looks like the quality of 1132 Bergen's marketing hasn't changed much since 1897, that's because it hasn't.  1136 Bergen Street just listed last month with pics and a $1.45M asking price, lasting barely a few weeks on the market before locking up over asking price.

1132 Bergen Street's listing doesn't make the best case for why it should command $400K higher.  We suspected it looks better than 1136 at times, but no interior pics ain't helping.  This isn't the first time we've seen <$2,000/month rental listings do a better job of pitching the house than a >$1.5M sale listing.  You won't find any interior pics on the sale listing, even though they want end-user level $1.85M price tag...

Feeling a little generic, but worth showing if you wanna fetch that price.  If we were serious about selling this property, or getting paid tens of thousands to do so, we'd certainly include pics to make a case for why we want $400K more than our neighbors who has pics.  Now 1132 Bergen was once marketed as a 2-Family with 5 SRO's, and while it's being marketed as a 3-Family today, we believe the SRO still applies.  Which isn't to say it's a total deal breaker.  An owner could probably generate more income with this configuration.  And it's not like Platinum Members haven't turned down offers of $2M cash sight unseen on an SRO around the corner from here.  Half the appeal of these places is the original details, which is why renovating can be a double-edged sword.

The original details in this row of homes is bananas when it's intact, like at 1134 Bergen...

And it's easy to quickly bring vestigial pink bathrooms from the 1960's or so into the modern century as we did this month...

Even a quick & easy reno makes a world of difference on these houses.  We think 1132 asking $1.85M with this half-baked listing is monkey-see, monkey-do pricing, but they might just get close to it if the listing is real and serviced.  We've seen under-marketed chopped up townhomes around the corner struggle to get $1.65M, but the end-user hybrid play opens up another leg in pricing if you can make it palatable to them.

Pro's:  curb appeal, barely more than 3-story houses are going for over here now, renovations and rental income already in place, extra-deep lot with an amazing south-facing yard, could be great for hybrid end-user/investor

Con's:  no interior pics, chopped up, C of O discrepancy, doesn't make a good case for the premium over 1136's, doesn't have the duplex configuration that most people are jonesin' for

Ideally:  a mailed-in listing that's a sign of the times, and oddly isn't even as far off as it should be

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