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Open House Agenda: 4 Homes to See This Weekend

By Donna M. Airoldi | August 15, 2014 7:50am | Updated on August 15, 2014 5:38pm
 Brooklyn townhouses with open houses this weekend.
Brooklyn Townhouses for Sale
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NEW YORK — Sometimes a regular apartment won’t do.

With a townhouse, there aren’t co-op or condo board concerns, and owners who don’t want the full building to themselves can create revenue-generating rental units.

Here are four Brooklyn properties that have open houses this weekend, with prices starting below $1 million.

111 Malcolm X Blvd., Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
5 Bedrooms/2.5 Baths
2,900 square feet
Real Estate Taxes: $144 per month
Open House: Saturday, Aug. 16, noon to 3 p.m.

Lowdown: This vacant single-family Bed-Stuy townhouse has been in the same family for decades, but “it is a fixer-upper,” said Brian Phillips, of Douglas Elliman.

“The house has nice original detailing and the size is generous,” added co-broker Daniel Dolgicer, also of Douglas Elliman. “But you can tell from its price that it does need some work. It’s not a shell, but, for someone comfortable with a renovation, they can salvage turn-of-the-century detail. There’s a lot of potential.”

Some of that detail includes wainscoting, molding around the ceiling, exposed brick, the original curved staircase and original flooring on the garden level, Phillips said, adding "there’s more square footage than with other townhouses because of the rear extension.”

The interior does not look as it does in the online photos — some of which were taken when the house was previously on the market — because a pipe burst last winter and there is now some water damage to the parlor and garden levels, Phillips noted.

Location: It’s on an “attractive block with a lot of brownstones in the vicinity renovated in recent years,” Dolgicer said. Three playgrounds are within a short walk. Therapy Wine Bar, nearby on Lewis Avenue, recently began offering “Painting and Sipping” events, complete with art materials.

It’s three blocks to the J and Z trains at Gates Avenue and Broadway; eight blocks to the A and C at Malcolm X and Utica Avenue. Alternatively, there’s the B46 bus to the A at Utica, and the B52 to downtown Brooklyn.

Why put it on your open house calendar? “This is a well-priced place that a new owner can make their own,” Phillips said. “The townhouses in Bed-Stuy that are renovated are already gone or are selling for more than $1 million. Here you can get in on the ground floor. It’s a clean canvas.”

75 Sterling St., Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn
4 Bedrooms/2 Baths
1,768 square feet
$1.25 million
Real Estate Taxes: $314 per month
Open House: Saturday, Aug. 16, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Lowdown: This “well-maintained” townhouse in the heart of Prospect-Lefferts Gardens is part of an estate sale. It was built in 1910, has been owned by only three families and was never rented out, said Douglas Elliman’s JoLinda Ruth Cogen, who grew up on the block.

The house features original architectural details, including wainscoting, two Tiffany stained-glass skylights, fireplace and “bay windows on both floors and in the front and back, which is unusual as there’s usually only one set,” Ruth Cogen said.

There also are brass holders that are part of the original lighting in the dining room that Ruth Cogen said she hadn’t seen in anyone else’s house on the block. She removed them “to make sure they didn’t walk. They’ll be returned once the house is sold.”

The previous owner updated the bathroom, made some repairs to the floors upstairs and added walk-in closets, Ruth Cogen noted. The basement is finished and includes a small kitchen and bath. The toilet works, but “we didn’t want to touch anything else without a plumber with us.” There’s also a full front porch in addition to the back yard.

Location: Demand for Prospect-Lefferts Gardens is on the rise. The neighborhood is a tight-knit community, Ruth Cogen said, adding that her father founded the block association — which still holds a popular annual July 4 party that former residents return to.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden awarded Sterling Street between Bedford and Washington avenues first place for Greenest Block in Brooklyn 2013. The Garden and the Prospect Park Zoo are around the corner. The building is equidistant from the 2 and 5 trains at Nostrand Avenue and the B, Q and S trains at Prospect Park.

Why put it on your open house calendar? “Because this is a warm house you can really raise a family in, and it’s move-in ready,” Ruth Cogen said. “You’re also close to several activities and a transit hub, which means you’re not too far from Manhattan and other parts of Brooklyn.”

364 Madison St., Stuyvesant Heights, Brooklyn
5 Bedrooms/3 Baths
2,280 square feet
$1.3 million
Real Estate Taxes: $250 per month
Open House: Sunday, Aug. 17, noon to 2 p.m.

Lowdown: This two-family Federal Brick home in the Stuyvesant Heights section of Bed-Stuy is just north of the neighborhood’s recently expanded historic district. The asking price decreased earlier this month by $200,000.

The “great, spacious” house with "beautiful staircases" is currently configured as a duplex apartment with a separate one-bedroom rental on the top floor, but it can easily be made into a single-family home, said Susan McNicholas, of Corcoran Group. The lower-level duplex is empty, and the “great tenant” on the top floor, who grew up in the neighborhood, hopes whoever buys it will let her stay, but the building can also be delivered vacant.

The sellers did some updates about seven years ago, adding a mud room and putting in a new bathroom. The second floor is a “mix of modern and Old World charm,” McNicholas noted. The original pocket doors separate the duplex's two upstairs bedrooms. The basement is unfinished and has a lot of storage.

Location: The townhouse is on a tree-lined block in an area of Bed-Stuy that has been in transition for a few years now, with new shops, restaurants and bars opening nearby regularly. There’s a historic brownstone walking tour that takes each fall in the neighborhood.

The nearest subway is the Kingston-Throop local station for the C. The A, G and S are within .7 miles. It’s a half mile to the Nostrand Avenue LIRR station.

Why put it on your open house calendar? “It’s spacious, has a lot of attributes, and has tremendous outdoor space, which a lot of people look for but is hard to get,” McNicholas said. “And there’s the rental income. A lot of people in the market are looking for that as well.”

398 Park Place, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
4 Bedrooms/4 Baths
3,300 square feet
$2.95 million
Real Estate Taxes: $629.66 per month
Open House: Sunday, Aug. 17, 1-2 p.m.

Lowdown: This four-story townhouse was built in 1899 and is currently configured as a three-family home — a duplex on the garden and parlor levels, plus floor-through one-bedrooms on the third and fourth floors, said Suzanne DeBrango, of Halstead Property, adding that the house will be delivered vacant.

The sellers renovated in the mid- to late-1990s, putting in a modern kitchen with custom cabinets, granite countertops and a “warming drawer, which is great for entertaining.” There are two en suite baths, with “one like a spa. It has its own heating control so in winter you can make it as warm as you want,” DeBrango noted.

As for original details: “Almost everything is in tact” — marble mantles, original flooring, decorative fireplaces, working pocket doors, stained glass and the woodwork. “It’s beautiful, and the house is mechanically and structurally in very good condition,” DeBrango said. In addition to the large yard, there's a deck off the duplex kitchen.

Location: It’s in the heart of Prospect Heights, a few blocks from the Brooklyn Museum and Botanic Garden, as well as Grand Army Plaza and Prospect Park. “There’s a children’s playground around the corner on Underhill Avenue,” DeBrango noted.

The B, Q, S, 2 and 3 trains are all within three blocks.

Why put it on your open house calendar? “The location is fantastic, and the home is spacious and move-in ready,” DeBrango said. “You don’t have to do anything to it.”