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Open House Agenda: Three Properties to See This Weekend

By Donna M. Airoldi | May 2, 2014 7:00am
 Relative real estate deals can still be had in these fringe neighborhoods. 
Three Apartments in Outlying Neighborhoods
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NEW YORK CITY — This week’s DNAinfo Apartmentality column featured tips for buyers on a budget, with tip No. 7 listing several neighborhoods that are atop brokers bargain lists.

Though deals can still be found in the areas mentioned, many are already out of the price range for some first-time buyers or those who don’t earn a six-figure salary — and that’s still most New Yorkers.

That doesn’t mean buying is not an option for those with more modest means. Here are listings for neighborhoods that recently started to heat up or are not even on most people’s radar yet.

2835 Barker Ave., Apt. 4F, Bronxwood, The Bronx
2 Bedrooms/2 Baths
1,028 square feet
Common Charges: $476 per month
Real Estate Taxes: $146 per month
Open House: Sunday, May 4, 1-3 p.m.

Lowdown: Unit 4F, with two exposures and “solid light,” is one of three in this Bronxwood building that the seller bought a few years ago and has been renovating. The photos that accompany the listing are actually for apartment 2R because updates for this unit were still being completed when the listing was posted, said Gabe Leibowitz, of Skygroup Realty.

Both of the other apartments have closed or are in contract, he added. “One is a mirror image of this unit and was listed at $170,000 but went for $214,000. This unit has the same space and offers good value,” he said.

“We’ve gotten tremendous traffic, because you can buy without a ton of liquidity, especially if you have a family,” Leibowitz noted. “It’s a nice building and the monthly costs are low,” he said. He added that there are some “issues with financing ability,” but there “are a couple banks” that will approve mortgages for the building. 

Leibowitz said that interest has been pretty evenly mixed between people from the suburbs and those already in the city. “It’s an opportunity to get solid space while living a city lifestyle.”

Cats are allowed, dogs are not — except for those already in the building that have been grandfathered in. 

Location: This part of the Bronx is one most people probably don’t know too much about. There even is controversy over what the neighborhood should be called — Bronxwood, Bronxdale, Laconia, or Allerton, which the New York Times profiled last year. The boundaries change depending on the source, and “the name has shifted over time,” Leibowitz said. 

The immediate vicinity is your “average neighborhood,” Leibowitz said. “There aren’t high-end or upscale restaurants or entertainment around; there are plenty of affordable [places] … but it isn’t run-down either. People have not seemed to be turned away by the location.” It’s an area where “the value has gone up a good bit over the last four years, when comps were showing for more around $145,000-$155,000.”

The apartment is one block from Bronx Park, which has the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden. It’s about five blocks to the Pelham Parkway station for the 2 and 5 trains. The BxM11 express bus can get to Midtown in about 45 minutes.

Why put it on your open house calendar? “There aren’t a ton [of similar apartments in the area] with this kind of space and quality,” Leibowitz said. “Most people don’t have a renovation budget, so something at $150,000 is less appealing because you have to throw $40,000 toward it. Here you can own a nice two-bedroom, two-bath condo with a live-in super and not be broke after.”

63-16 Forest Ave., Apt. 3B, Ridgewood, Queens
2 Bedrooms/2 Baths
868 square feet
Common Charges: $307 per month
Real Estate Taxes: $58.33 per month (abated for 19 more years)
Open House: Sunday, May 4, 1-3 p.m.

Lowdown: Ridgewood has been getting a lot of press the past year or so, thanks to it being on the border with Bushwick, the hot neighborhood to the south — which means it’s already difficult to find deals here. Still, “you’ll pay half the price for a house here than you would in Williamsburg or Greenpoint, and the condo market is especially more affordable than most parts of the city,” said Joseph Crifasi, of Crifasi Real Estate, even though there aren’t that many condos in the area ... yet.

Other than adding an island to the kitchen, the seller hasn’t made any updates to this top-floor, two-bedroom condo unit since she bought it new from the sponsor, who completed construction in 2007, Crifasi said. 

“It’s not big, because developers now squeeze every inch and try to add another unit [to buildings], but it’s a full two-bedroom, two-bath with a nice-sized living room/kitchen combo area,” he added. 

The unit faces away from the street, and because it’s on a corner, it also has two balconies — one facing over the backyard and a smaller one on the side. It also comes with a parking space in the garage below the building.

Crifasi admitted a few buyers have already made offers, but if the owner doesn’t get the price she’s looking for, she’s not going to sell. 

Location: “For the last 125 years, Ridgewood has been an affordable middle-class neighborhood for immigrant families. Now we’re getting almost more people from out of state moving in than immigrants,” said Crifasi, whose family has been selling real estate in the area for 40 years. 

In addition to demand “following the L line,” Crifasi credits the MTA’s 2010 rerouting of the M train along the F line across the Lower East Side and Greenwich Village, then up through Midtown and out to Queens again with making Ridgewood more accessible and, therefore, desirable. “By doing that, people didn’t need the L train anymore to reach 14th Street.”

The Forest Avenue M station is about a half mile away. It connects to the L at Myrtle Avenue. Fresh Pond Road, a major commercial strip, is two blocks away. For nearby dining, Crifasi recommends a plethora of ethnic eats, including Nepali, Polish, German, Albanian, Joe’s Restaurant on Forest for Italian, Bun-ker on Metropolitan for “one of the best Vietnamese places in the city” and Rosa’s for brick oven pizza on Fresh Pond Road. 

Why put it on your open house calendar? “It’s value for the money in a quiet, safe community,” Crifasi said. “It’s also centrally located to Manhattan, Brooklyn and Long Island, and it’s only going to get more expensive as Manhattan and Brooklyn become more expensive.”

1328 Troy Ave., East Flatbush, Brooklyn
5 Bedrooms/2.5 Baths
2-Family House
2,421 square feet
Real Estate Taxes: $4,233.77 per year
Open House: Saturday, May 3, noon to 1:30 p.m.

Lowdown: This semi-detached two-family home was constructed in 1930 as a single-family dwelling, but it is now configured as a three-bedroom, 1.5-bath duplex apartment with a two-bedroom, one-bath unit on the lower level, said Karen Younge, of Keller Williams NYC.

The duplex unit has refinished original hardwood floors throughout and a sunroom that could be “used as an office or library.” All but two of the windows are new as is the fence, and the sellers — who have lived there for about 10 years — recently put in a new hot-water heater and had the roof redone, Younge added.

“There’s also a driveway and garage, which is really rare in the neighborhood,” Younge said. “It’s a good deal for the price.”

The owner “really maintains” the “spotless” house, which is in “move-in condition,” including the rental unit, which will be delivered empty. Average rents for two-bedroom apartments in the area range from $1,400 to $1,650, Younge said.

There’s been a lot of interest, including a few offers, she noted, but the seller wanted to hold one more open house. “Prices are getting higher and higher because of demand,” Younge added. “East Flatbush is transitioning, and we’re getting quite a few people for the open houses, especially families.”

Location: The neighborhood is in an area of East Flatbush known as Farragut, named for the American Civil War Admiral David G. Farragut. It’s “very residential, beautiful and quiet; there’s a church on the corner,” Younge said. Paerdegat Park is three blocks away.

Avenue D, one block north, has a Key Foods, retail stores, and restaurants, such as the Vivid Café for Caribbean food. The B8 bus on Avenue D goes to the Newkirk Avenue 2 and 5 train station, which is just less than a mile away. It’s about 1.2 miles to Brooklyn College and Flatbush Junction, which has several stores, including a Target.

Why put it on your open house calendar? In addition to its “good bones,” move-in condition and rental income, “it’s a rare find and could be somebody’s dream house for the price,” Younge said. “Even though prices have been going up in the area, it still offers good value and is worth every penny. The buyers that come to the open house will see why.”