Take It Or Leave It

Is $1,900 for a Williamsburg one-bedroom—with a backyard—too good to be true?

By Virginia K. Smith  | September 17, 2014 - 12:59PM

These days, even a shoebox one-bedroom is a "good deal" if it's in Williamsburg and rents for less than $2,000 a month. So we wonder if this $1,900 a month place with a shared garden smack in between the L, the G, the J, M, Z and dozens of bars and restaurants is a steal—or a swindle. (Its owners may be jonesing for new tenants; they just lowered the price by $100 a month).

To decode this intriguing Brooklyn listing, we brought in our experts, including RentHackr founder Zeb Dropkin as well as real estate bloggers and veteran NYC renters Julie Inzanti and Lambeth Hochwald (who have a combined 27 years of experience in the world of New York rentals) for this week’s Take It or Leave It.

Size: 1-bed, 1-bath
Location: 53 Withers Street (between Lorimer and Union)
Cost: $1,900/month
Flexible Layout: No​
Days on the market: 6 days
Subway: G, L at Metropolitan; L at Graham; G at Nassau; J, M, Z at Marcy Ave; J, M at Hewes

Pros and Cons:

"This micro one-bedroom a few blocks off the BQE is definitely priced decently at $1,900 per month with shared backyard access and BBQ to boot. Unfortunately, the rooms look tiny and the whole place feels very cramped." - Lambeth

"It's a great price to live alone in Williamsburg. It's a tight squeeze in what looks to be a converted studio. Contrary to the listing, it looks dark. And it's alarmingly close to the BQE, so check the location for noise." - Zeb

"If you combine the location, space and price this place is amazing! The neighborhood is fun and exciting and there are great food and shopping options. The apartment size is decent for a one-bedroom. Having outdoor space is lovely, though the yard is shared, so fingers crossed your neighbors are either so cool you want to hang every day--not likely--or they hate the outdoors--less likely. The low rent for a one-bedroom in Williamsburg does raise an eyebrow. Maybe stake out the area a little to see if it is next door to a music venue or a toxic abandoned lot. The neighborhood, which is always packed, may also be a con for some renters. Sure, there are a range of ages in the area, but it's mostly a young hip crowd, or the older, late 30s, wealthy creative-types who want to be in the center of the young hip crowd." - Julie

Who would this apartment be perfect for?

"A new grad who won’t mind the tight squeeze." - Lambeth

​"A Williamsburg hipster ready to go solo and live without roommates. Or anyone who enjoys the great culture and amenities of Williamsburg and needs a place for under $2,000." - Zeb

"This place is perfect for a couple or single person. They should be young-ish or happy with a popular neighborhood because Williamsburg is definitely crowded! Weekdays might be fine but don't even think about a quiet stroll on a nice Saturday." - Julie

The verdict(s):

LEAVE IT "I’m thinking ground floor means super noisy." - Lambeth

LEAVE IT "It doesn't look like a great place. But if it's the location you want, and the most reasonably priced, you could make it work." - Zeb 

TAKE IT "The price is right and the neighborhood is fun. Stay a year and see if you can stand it!" - Julie

Ready to rent? Check out our How to Rent Guide...and if the apartment you like requires a guarantor that you don’t have, see if the landlord accepts Insurent, a guarantor solution from one of BrickUnderground’s sponsors.

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