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.

A Done Deal

I SEEM TO HAVE BOUGHT A HOUSE today. It was very unceremonious. No fanfare. No champagne. Just signing papers. At one point, I said to my lawyer, ‘Did I buy the house yet?’ She said, ‘You signed the deed, so, yes.’ That was it.

Things have leafed out since last month, when this picture was taken

Things have leafed out since this picture was taken

The seller wasn’t present at the closing. Neither was her attorney; he sent someone. Someone else represented the bank. The title closer was there; not even a hello.

I had hoped to meet my mortgage broker. She wasn’t there either. I did get to meet my lawyer. These were both women I’d been talking to and emailing for months and was looking forward to meeting. I like my lawyer a lot. She’s my neighbor in Springs and invited me to dinner Sunday night. How d’ya like that? A dinner invitation my first night.

I like my interest rate a lot, too: 4.875%. Makes me want to re-finance everything. With taxes ($1,500/yr) and insurance ($717/yr), my monthly nut comes to $1,508. Not bad for the Hamptons.

Below: Jackson Pollock, Springs’ most famous resident

Jackson Pollock's home and studio are down the road

Pollock's home and studio are just down the road