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.)


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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