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Market for Complete Wrecks is Growing; A Grown-Up Hunt

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1) For a refreshing change of pace, this week's Hunt begins in South Brooklyn and ends up all the way out in Staten Island. Patricia and William, a married couple, like living right across from the Coney Island Hospital, their place of work, in a $1,500/month rental. But they don't like sharing one bathroom between three people (they also have a teenaged son) and having to drive to the laundromat. So, they decide, it's time to buy. Their intention is to stay near the hospital on Ocean Parkway, but they strike out and reset their sights on Staten Island. Dreams of owning an actual house soon turn to anxiety over all the extra responsibilities that would entail, but luckily, they become smitten with an apartment in a new condo building called The Pointe. They buy and it, and now William uses his new vantage point to post a picture of the sunrise onto his Facebook every single morning. "A lot of people say, 'oh, you're going to get tired of that.'" he says. "I really don't." Psst, William, they're telling you that they're getting tired of that. [The Hunt/'A Home With a Little Less Waiting']

2) Plummeting inventory has led a growing number of prospective buyers to come to the same conclusion: if they can't find or afford what they want, they'll just have to make it themselves. According to Jonathan Miller, sales of wrecks (or, if you're a broker, "fixer-uppers," "unrenovateds," or "needs works") are up 83 percent since last year, which makes now a great time to take a look at three such purchases, each in a different stage of the gut-renovating process—one finished, one mid-renovation, and one that has barely begun. Of the three, predictably, the only one where the owner seems to have a few regrets is the mid-reno. "You get a call and you think, what is it now?" he says. "I go to bed and think of all the checks I have to write." Then again, the couple that's already done with their renovation couldn't be happier. The last guy sounds like he doesn't know what he's in for. ['Home Buyers Seek Manhattan Wrecks']