Townhouse pick of the week

Buy a beach cottage—with a white picket fence—in sleepy seaside Brooklyn

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For this week's townhouse pick, we're opting for something a bit different than the usual brownstones, mansions, and Victorians. Instead, we're daydreaming of warmer months with this charming two-bedroom cottage in Brooklyn's Gerritsen Beach, a quiet waterfront neighborhood bordered by Marine Park, Sheepshead Bay, and Shell Bank Creek. 

We'll admit that the bright red paint job and white picket fence are a large part of its charm (and rarities when it comes to NYC housing stock), but the interiors also have potential. The ground floor looks spacious and airy, with a large living room that has plenty of room for entertaining:

The living area leads out via glass doors onto a cozy wooden backyard patio, ideal for morning coffee, early evening cocktails, or summertime cookouts. There's also a shed in the backyard, if you've been dying to create an on-trend "she shed" for yourself.

Also on the ground floor is a spacious eat-in kitchen and a dining room. While we'd re-tile that kitchen floor, this looks like plenty of room for a family to congregate without getting underfoot of whomever's doing the cooking. The home's one bathroom (!) is also on this level, with appropriately nautical blue and white tiling:

The bedrooms are on the upper levels, and include several closets, plus plenty of natural light.

With an asking price for $425,000 (recently discounted by $44,000), the pricing is within reach for a first-time buyer, or someone looking for a weekend getaway within the five boroughs. However, the listing notes that this is a short sale, meaning that the seller has put it on the market for less than the amount that's owed on the mortgage.

From a buyer's perspective, these are often a good deal, but keep in mind that short sales are fairly complicated transactions, so the deal is likely to take more time than usual to be finalized. Given the location near the water, you'll also likely want to factor flood insurance into your projected monthly expenses. But if you make your move now and all goes well, you could have this seaside home just in time for summer.