BOTTOM FISHING: 2nd Cheapest House in East Hampton 249K

HERE’S WHAT YOU GET for the price: a circa 1970 ranch with vinyl siding on a .18 acre lot,  on a quiet dead end street in a woodsy section of Springs.

The neighboring houses are of similar era, but “better,” with tidy landscaping (whereas this one looks right out of the kit).

I wouldn’t single out such an unremarkable house, but for the remarkable price. Three years ago, that number would have been unheard of in this zip code.

Two days on the market. The listing lacks photos, but I took a few. Will it go?

Bottom Fishing: East Hampton Cottage 299K

HOW LOW CAN THEY GO? This is the first time I’ve seen a house in Springs (East Hampton) below the 300K mark, and it’s in a generally desirable section: the Maidstone Park area, a few minutes’ walk to a miles-long stretch of pristine Gardiner’s Bay beach on Long Island’s South Fork. (See some of the more appealing cottages in the neighborhood here.)

It’s a 700 square foot, 2BR, 1 bath cedar-shingled cottage built in 1975, on a slip of a lot (.19 acre).

It’s located in a cul-de-sac that happens to be less charming, more Beverly Hillbillies (toys, junk in the yards) than most in the neighborhood; one can only hope that will change eventually. When I went to take a look for myself, I remembered going to a yard sale in front of that house; it was a young family who didn’t have much to offer, goods-wise, and I was saddened to see recently, in my research, that they paid over 500K (!) for the house a few years ago, and that this is a foreclosure/short sale.

Could something cute be done with it? Sure! Could it be a profitable rental? Probably not. Maybe a break-even.

To check it out for yourself, call John Brady at 631/294-4216. The listing, with more photos, is here.

Two in Springs under 500K

WHEN I FIRST MOVED OUT TO SPRINGS in May of ’09, I had to revise upward my blog’s definition of “affordable real estate,” from 500 to 600K. Otherwise, I’d have had little to write about in the Hamptons, which has a deserved reputation for inflated prices, even on the meanest shacks.

Had a reputation. Three years hence, I’ve noticed, there’s plenty on the market for 500K. Even 400K. Maybe less.

The real-estate site Curbed Hamptons, once obsessed strictly with multi-million dollar properties, has noticed this too, and they’ve been doing a little bottom fishing. They’ve recently launched a new department called Under 500K. Real estate for the rest of us, in other words — part of an effort, as they put it, to “strike a balance between fantasy and reality.”

The latest post under the new slug features two houses in Springs — one a nothing house but near the water, the other further inland but more than decent.

Listing: 11 Gardiners Cove Road, Springs [above and top]
Price: $449,000
Bedrooms/Bathrooms/Sq. Ft.: 2/1/700
Acreage: .72
Located next to a 26-acre nature preserve and just 100 yards from the water, this cottage may be on the small side, but boasts a rather large .72 acre parcel of privacy-loving property. Newly renovated, it features a cleared lawn, outdoor shower, and what looks to be a pretty decent kitchen. It first hit the market in November of 2011 for $469K, but just experienced its first pricechop yesterday.

Listing: 30 Fifth Street, Springs [above]
Price: $495,000
Bedrooms/Bathrooms/Sq. Ft.: 3/2.5/1600
Acreage: .28
Weighing in with more than double the square footage—but a third of the acreage—is this 3-bedroom a little further down the road. The home features an open floor plan, granite kitchen, central A/C and a pretty handsome deck that seems to complement the landscaping quite nicely. You’ll also find a “separate master wing with vaulted ceiling and large ensuite bath.”

Curbed Hamptons, being cute, posits this as a “deathmatch,” asking readers to vote on which they prefer. Me, I think they’re worthy opponents.

To read the whole of the original post, go here.

Bottom Fishing in Upstate New York


LIVING IN THE HAMPTONS, as I do part-time, I’m often floored by the low prices of real estate in breathtakingly beautiful upstate New York. Around here, mean little ’70s houses are often priced at upwards of half a mil (they may not sell, but that doesn’t stop their owners from trying).

The Catskills and Hudson Valley abound with opportunities to buy a vintage country place cheap. I mean cheap. Real cheap. Did I say cheap?

For $400/month, give or take, you can have a place to garden. A place to commune with nature. Hell, a place to go. And quite possibly a good investment.

The 1930s year-round cabin, top, is in a lake community near Bethel (the real Woodstock, so described when it was was featured recently on the ingenious blog Reclaimed Home). The price tag is a mere $54,900. I see nothing bad about it, inside or out. Go here for a dozen more pictures. You will be impressed.


Meanwhile, the blog Upstater has been getting down, with a new feature called “Five Figure Fridays.” Yep — every Friday, a selection of houses under the 100K mark.

Last week’s installment featured the c. 1900 Pine Hill house above, and a front-porch Victorian in Wurtsboro of similar vintage, below.


Today’s bottom-fishing expedition spotlights Sullivan County, with five properties starting at 39K. Most of them look quite workable to my see-potential-in-almost-anything eye.

We’re heading into the best house-hunting time of year: dead of winter, when the dilettantes stay in the city with a good book. That’s when prices go even lower, and negotiating with sellers is doing them a big favor.

Another thing you can be sure of: what looks unpromising under wintry skies, surrounded by bare trees, is going to be resplendent in June.

Bottom Fishing in Bed-Stuy

116 macon

TODAY MY COUSIN AND I WENT ON A RECONNAISSANCE MISSION to Bedford-Stuyvesant, often considered the last repository of affordable brownstones in Brooklyn. I hadn’t been that way in years, and it looked good. Less garbage on the streets than in Prospect Heights right now; a number of For Sale signs, but not too many; signs of construction here and there; and, by the looks of things, few houses left in need of total rehab — at least on the blocks we visited — which was not the case a decade ago.

We were pressed for time and made a quick pass through the gorgeous, landmarked filet of the neighborhood, Stuyvesant Heights, with its notable mansions and long, unbroken lines of elegant brownstones. Then we did some drive-bys on Macon Street, in what I think is called Bedford Corners, a proposed landmark district. I guess that’s the next best thing.

A Daily News article a few months back piqued my interest in Bed-Stuy for investment. I was curious, as always, to see what could be had at the bottom of the market (since I doubt I can raise a mortgage on anything but). There was one house for 365K on the Corcoran site with no picture, but an address. This is it:

116 macon

116 Macon (in the middle), right off Marcy Avenue, is narrow and no beauty. Its facade is crumbling, as is the one next door. It’s a legal four-family “in need of complete rehab.” Taxes are an outrage at $5,882/year. And that’s what you can get for 365K (asking) in Bed-Stuy. Not for me. If I were to buy in Bed-Stuy, I would want a pretty house as much as a profitable one.

For more pics and info, go here.

352 macon 625k incontract

It turns out that 352 Macon, above, a couple blocks closer to the historic district, is in contract, as are many Bed-Stuy listings on Flateau Realty’s 1-4 family page.

352 macon

It’s a classic brownstone, in need of a face-lift but with fine interior details, above and below, like many Bed-Stuy houses. It’s of average size (20’x40′), a four-story building with three apartments. It “needs some TLC but has good bones.” The price was apparently right at 625K, or close to it, and that’s why it’s been spoken for.

352 in contract

To see more, click here.

359 macon

Across the street, 359 Macon (red door), is less house — three stories, legal 2-family — and not as attractive on the outside, but with a lot of nice original woodwork, below, inside. The seller is asking 689K because it’s in move-in (rent-in?) condition, with the excessively shiny floors that are the hallmark of many a new renovation.

359 macon red door

For more pics and info, go here.

All in all, an instructive day. I’ll go back when it’s not 15 degrees.

To learn more about Bed-Stuy and keep up with what’s happening there, check out Bed-Stuy Blog. One recent post is about the Historic Districts Council, a citywide advocacy group for historic buildings and neighborhoods, naming Bed-Stuy as one of six NYC neighborhoods that merit preservation priority.

From the HDC press release:

The Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood contains an astonishing number of architecturally, historically and culturally significant structures, including rowhouses, mansions, religious buildings, and schools dating from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Although there are currently two designated historic districts in the area, the vast majority of Bedford Stuyvesant’s architectural splendor is unprotected. The recently-formed Bedford Stuyvesant Society for Historic Preservation, a coalition of concerned neighborhood block associations, and the landmarks committee of Brooklyn Community Board 3 are working to correct that.