Classic Clinton Hill Brownstone Under 1M

26 Saint James PL

I COULD TOTALLY WORK THIS BUILDING. If I could scare up 200K for a down payment, that is.

First off, I think the ask is very reasonable (it’s newly reduced to 995K from 1.15M). The building is utterly classic, a magnificent brownstone on a fine block (St. James Place between DeKalb and Lafayette), a stone’s throw from Pratt Institute and the Brooklyn Flea. Granted, we don’t know what the inside looks like, but if the realtor’s description (“charm,” “all detail”) is to be believed – duh, I know – it has potential. A legal 6-family, with four apartments delivered vacant, of average size (20’x45′), you just don’t see them any more for under $1million.

Recent sales in Boerum Hill and Park Slope have been soaring toward and above $2million, and Clinton Hill is no less convenient or architecturally distinguished. Probably the fact that two of the six apartments are rent stabilized is what’s keeping the asking price low, though another vacancy is said to be pending. That would leave just one apartment un-rentable for market value, and that tenant can’t live forever. (Unless I’m mistaken – and someone please correct me if I’m wrong – NYC rent stabilization is like rent control in that, once a tenant moves or dies, the apartment reverts to market value.)

So: figure a $795,000 mortgage (putting 200K down and paying the asking price) at the now standard interest rate of around 5%. That’s a monthly mortgage payment under $4,300. Taxes add $650 month, utilities and insurance another $900 or so. How can you not realize $6,000/month out of this building right away, with more to come?

Of course, you have to have the cash down, and for all I know there could be structural issues, roof leaks, and maybe the boiler’s on its last legs. Nevertheless, it’s an opportunity well worth checking out.

Go here for the listing.

About cara

I blog (for fun) here at casaCARA, and write (for money) about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites.
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4 Responses to Classic Clinton Hill Brownstone Under 1M

  1. Jennifer says:

    No amount of money is worth becoming a landlord to a rent-stabilized tenant! That is a major liability!

  2. em says:

    Actually, rent control status can be passed on to a relative as long as they are occupying the apartment before the current tenant passes on. There may be a certain alloted time they have to have been overlapping in residence (2 years?) but the fact is that a rent control tenant can be the original tenant’s 30 year old grandchild making $250K a year and still be perfectly legal and legit. Not good for the landlord! Beautiful building though. Keep the posts coming!

  3. rusty says:

    Looks like a beautiful building! Overtime, it would be so nice to make a duplex with the yard for yourself and rent out the rest.

    I think all of the units are rent-stabilized though. They are being kept vacant, but they’re still subject to the rent stabilization guidelines (ie. can’t just raise rents to market level). Also, for anything over 3 families, I think it would require a commercial mortgage, which is 30% down minimum.

    Maybe it could still work? Buildings can’t stay rent-stabilized forever. The units need to be rented out until the rents reach $2,000 with the allowed annual increases of a few percentage points, and then, assuming your tenant isn’t senior or disabled, you can de-stabilize it.

  4. cara says:

    Hi folks, have made further inquiries as to the status of the apartments and the last rents that were charged there, as well as the required down payment, and will post an update when I find out.

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