Flip or Flop?

Flip or Flop Update: Bed-Stuy brownstone in need of work sells for almost $1 million more than it fetched four months ago

By Leigh Kamping-Carder  | June 9, 2014 - 11:31AM

We admit we were skeptical that the brownstone at 196 Hancock Street in Bed-Stuy—which we featured in our Flip or Flop? series in February—would fetch its $1.85 million asking price, considering the seller had bought it for $1.2 million only three days earlier.

Well, it didn’t. It sold for a lot more—$2.1 million to be precise, its ebullient listing broker, Ban Leow of Halstead Property, told BrickUnderground this morning.

The deal, which closed Friday, is “something that will wake up everybody’s interpretation of what the market is doing in Bed-Stuy," he adds. 

Above, 196 Hancock Street has 19th century features like stained glass

In case you missed the backstory in our earlier post: On Feb. 18, a Brooklyn real estate investor bought the 3,600-square-foot, four-story brownstone. Three days later, he put it back on the market at a $650,000, or 54 percent, price hike....and he's now sold it for $900,000, or 75 percent more, than he paid.

As we noted in February, some of that spike might have been the result of the investor getting a good deal on the purchase: He bought it from the estate of a woman who'd owned the place for decades, and it's possible her heirs were unfamiliar with the market here. 

Above, the expansive parlor room features intricate woodwork, pocket doors and other details brownstone buyers covet

Also, hordes of buyers are looking for brownstones in Bed-Stuy, particularly ones that are in decent shape. “If you had to pick a form of housing stock in Brooklyn that is seeing the tightest market conditions,” appraisal expert Jonathan Miller told us at the time, “that would be brownstones.”

Plus, 196 Hancock retains coveted historic details, like intricate woodwork, stained glass, floral moldings on the ceilings, carved stair railings, and several decorative fireplaces. It’s got a backyard as well, plus two 1.5-bedroom rental units on the top two floors. 

Above, a backyard at 196 Hancock was also a selling point for buyers

That said, the price was by no means a foregone conclusion. This is, after all, Bed-Stuy--a place not historically known for seven-figure real estate deals. And with a dated kitchen and bathrooms, 196 Hancock needed some work. 

But the seller actually got a number of offers, Leow says, including a higher one for $2.2 million. The seller opted to go with the slightly lower offer because it was all-cash and the buyer, a New Yorker, was able to close quickly, Leow says. (The deal hasn’t shown up yet in public records, and Leow declined to discuss additional details about the buyer.)​

Above, a dated kitchen and bathrooms were downsides for this townhouse

In short, when it came to this deal, the confidence the buyer inspired trumped the price he or she offered: a good lesson for anyone hoping to compete for a townhouse in Bed-Stuy. 

“I know there is a lot of demand,” Leow says. “People that come to the Bed-Stuy market looking for trophy properties [and] come in with below asking [price offers] or lots of contingencies will definitely lose out.”


Flip or Flop: The price of this Bed-Stuy townhouse spiked $650K in three days. Is it worth it?

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