If reading The Hunt stokes your deepest hopes that someday everything in life could work out, then you, too, are obsessed with the New York Times Sunday Real Estate section. Join us as we venture into the depths of this weekend's installment.
It's a story as old as time itself: a Brooklyn couple needs more space for the upcoming children, and an income producing townhouse just makes the most sense. That's the gist of the story of Jeanne Rondeu and Chris Beach, who realized that their 600 square foot apartment in Fort Greene wasn't going to be cutting it soon enough. They shopped around, making a few non-committal seeming lowball offers, none of which were accepted. That is, until they found a big place on Clifton Place in Clinton Hill, and knew that this was the one for them. Acting quickly, they snatched the place up for $785,000.
But then they noticed that three-bedroom co-ops, which were scarce, generally ranged from $700,000 to $1 million, not all that much less than houses. So a house would be their best bet: either a single-family or a place with tenants to provide rental income. Their price range included “places we thought we could talk down to $1.2 million,” said Ms. Rondeau
They were disturbed when they found renovations that destroyed the integrity of the original construction. Often a place “looked like a brownstone on the outside and a new condo on the inside,” Ms. Rondeau said, “and it kept making us really sad.”
They saw a frame house with a peaked gable on Adelphi Street in the Fort Greene Historic District. It was an estate sale requiring a complete renovation. They needed flashlights to look around. The listing price was $899,000.
The couple offered $600,000, figuring they would spend about $500,000 in repairs. They were turned down.
They visited an adorable carriage house, with a garage in front and a yard in back, on Clifton Place in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The block “felt very industrial but very neighborly,” Ms. Rondeau said.
The open house was packed, and the place, which had been restored by an architect, sold quickly for $975,000, well above their bid and the listing price of $899,000.
A few months later, a listing appeared for a four-story house, also on Clifton Place. The asking price was $829,000.
“I couldn’t hide my emotions,” she said. “I really liked it.”
Mr. Beach, knowing the house had vinyl siding, didn’t want to bother taking a look, but his wife insisted. And once he walked through, he was taken with the place, even though it would need elbow grease inside and out.
But after living with two children in a one-bedroom, the couple relished the idea of six bedrooms and four bathrooms. The inspection found the electrical, heating and plumbing systems to be in good shape. With little hesitation, they bought the house for $785,000.