Open House Agenda: Three Apartments to See This Weekend

By Donna M. Airoldi on September 20, 2013 7:29am 

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 See what you can buy in New York for $300,000.
Three $300,000 Apartments
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NEW YORK — It’s easy to complain about how expensive New York real estate has become, but there are still opportunities to jump into ownership on a lower-end budget. Here are three units — two of which are two-bedrooms — priced at roughly $300,000.

251 Seaman Ave., Apt. 4J, Inwood, Manhattan
1 Bedroom/1 Bath
Co-op
800 square feet
$299,000
Maintenance: $719/month
Open House: Sunday, Sept. 22, 2:15-3:15 p.m.

Lowdown: This classic pre-war apartment, built in 1939, comes with Art Deco-style details, ample closet space and a corner bedroom.

“One closet is so large that people have exclaimed if it were in downtown Manhattan, it would be listed as a bedroom,” said Susanna Saarinen, of Access Property Group.

The current owners renovated the apartment after purchasing it nearly six years ago, said Saarinen, adding that the stove is new and has never been used.

“When I first saw the apartment, I thought something was missing, then realized there was no stove in the kitchen! The owners explained that they are both raw food people, so they don’t cook. I told them they had to get one for selling purposes.”

Location: It’s one block to the 200-acre Inwood Hill Park, which has the last natural salt marsh in Manhattan. There’s a year-round greenmarket on Saturday, about a five-minute walk away. The area has an array of restaurants.

"It’s one of the last real community neighborhoods in Manhattan,” said Saarinen, who has lived in the area for 16 years. “Shop owners get to know your name. It’s green. You’re away from the craziness of the city, but still close enough to take the A train and be in Midtown in 20 minutes.”

There’s also the 1 line and express buses to Lower Manhattan.

Why put it on your open house calendar? Getting 800 square feet for less than $300,000 is a great price, even for Inwood.

“This neighborhood often gets forgotten, and it has a lot to offer,” Saarinen said, adding, "You don’t have to live in a box.”

5800 Arlington Ave., Apt. 2G, Riverdale, the Bronx
2 Bedroom/1 Bath
Co-op
950 square feet
$294,000
Maintenance: $1,036/month
Open House: Sunday, Sept. 22, 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Lowdown: Cross over from Inwood into the Bronx, and in North Riverdale you can get a two-bedroom apartment in move-in condition with a terrace, in a full-service post-war building for the same price.

“The apartment has an east view, which makes it very sunny, and it has views of lots of trees and grass,” said Esther Zimet, of EZ Premier Realty. “There’s an open living room that is currently used as a dining area, but you can close it off and make it a third small bedroom.”

The full-service Skyview complex includes a health club, Olympic-sized seasonal pool, free aerobic programs, and tennis and basketball courts.

“It’s one of the nicest, premier complexes in Riverdale," Zimet said.

The price was reduced this week from $299,000.

Location: The apartment is less than a mile from Van Cortlandt Park. The Riverdale Metro North stop is nearby, and down the hill is a bus to the 1 line station at Van Cortlandt Park-242 Street. Nearby amenities include the Skyview Shopping Center, a YMCA and a post office.

Why put it on your open house calendar? “If [potential buyers] don’t want to do much work, it’s good for them," Zimet said. "It’s in excellent shape.”

1509 Bergen St., Apt. 112, Crown Heights, Brooklyn
2 Bedrooms/1.5 Baths
Co-op
1,210 square feet
$290,000
Maintenance: $772/month
Open House: Sunday, Sept. 22, 2-3 p.m.

Lowdown: The apartments in this new co-op building are subsidized, so there are household income and asset restrictions. But it’s a good opportunity for securing a duplex unit with outdoor space at a very affordable price.

Only 5 percent is required for a down payment.

“The household income cap is $138,600, and the buyer can’t have more than $140,000 in liquid assets, not including pension funds,” said Greg Todd, of the Corcoran Group.

There are also resale restrictions. If sold within three years, the owner would get the principal back but not any profit. If sold within four to 15 years, the owner would get 50 percent of the profit, so if it went for $100,000 over the purchase price, the seller would be able to keep $50,000.

The restriction expires after 15 years.

“It’s a good deal, but it’s not for everyone," Todd said.

Each of the two bedrooms on the main floor is more than 150 square feet. The recreation room on the lower level, with access to a large patio, could also be used as a third bedroom. The unit comes with new appliances and hookups for a washer and dryer.

The maintenance includes everything but electricity, and it’s 50 percent tax deductible.

The developers want people who are ready to commit to the neighborhood, said Todd, who also lives in Crown Heights.

“We’re getting more and more clientele from Park Slope, Cobble Hill, the Lower East Side, East Village," Todd said. "You never would have seen that three years ago. We never used to see anything east of Albany Avenue. Now the affordability zone has moved east.”

Location: The apartment is in a section of Crown Heights known as Weeksville, which during the 19th century was an early free African-American community. It’s three blocks from Atlantic Avenue and across the street from St. John’s Park, which has a popular recreation center with a large indoor pool. The Weeksville Heritage Center, Brooklyn Children’s Museum and Imani Community Garden are nearby.

Franklin Avenue's trendy shops and restaurants are about 1.5 miles away. It’s one-third of a mile to the A and C trains at Utica Avenue, and half a mile to the 3, 4 and 5 lines at Utica. The Long Island Railroad Nostrand Avenue station is less than a mile away.

Why put it on your open house calendar? For the right candidates, it’s a great way to get a large apartment at a low price, in a fast-changing neighborhood.

“Sure, you could upgrade the appliances and cabinets," Todd said, "but the basic structure, plumbing, windows and size — everything is comparable to what you get from a luxury project but not at luxury prices.”

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