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IF LOCATION REALLY WERE EVERYTHING in real estate, what’s left of this 1850s frame house on lovely Carlton Avenue would have been snapped up long ago — maybe a couple of years back when when the asking price was 899K, or when it dropped to 699K — even though it’s in truly nightmarish condition.(Someone should shoot a scary movie there while there’s still time.)

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I’ve seen some daunting rehab projects in my time, but this one ranks with the dauntingest. Uninhabited for thirty years, the three-story building is just about standing. The rear extension is falling in on itself altogether, and the top floor was cordoned off at Sunday’s open house, where a steady stream of the curious, including myself, were asked to sign release forms before entering, just in case anyone should fall through the floorboards or get beaned by a piece of falling ceiling.

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Having seen the post about the house on Brownstoner last week, and read through the many comments — equal parts conjecture and fear-mongering, probably well-founded (though if there’s mold, that would be the least of it) — I just had to take a look.

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For one thing, it’s right around the corner from my apartment. For another, it’s 2011, and my acquisitive urge is beginning to stir. I bought investment properties in 2005 (Philadelphia), 2007 (Philadelphia), 2009 (East Hampton, N.Y.) and if I’m to stay on schedule, this would be my year to add to the portfolio.

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But this is not a project for me, alas. I don’t have the resources, the stomach, or the patience to deal with Landmarks. Also, on the minus side, the house is petite — 20′x25′, though it could be built out to 60% of its 20′x80′ lot. The building next door is equally derelict, and that one’s not for sale, so the house, even when spiffed up, will be adjacent to an asphalt-covered eyesore.

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On the plus side, besides its location in prime Prospect Heights…well, that’s about it for the plus side.

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Will the right buyer come along at the unheard-of-around-these-parts price of 499K?

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