Category Archives: buying

March 25, 2015

We have closed!

Big News! We closed this week!  We officially own a Brownstone in Bed-Stuy after several months of being in contract.


We will probably do a post one day about the rollercoaster ride we went through while being in contract but for now we feel too close to it, and we want to enjoy the fact that the deal went through and the house is ours.  Here we are celebrating after we got the keys…


100 year old mirror selfie


Jameson surveying his land


popping some champagne

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pizza and beers on the floor

In the weeks to come I will post more about construction plans and renovations.  I am going to put together a “before” house tour soon!



March 24, 2015


snow brownstone

So sorry for my absence from the blog.  We have had some exciting recent developments so I am going to post more regularly.  Here is Part V from Punit, the last post of a five post series, check out Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.

Offer 5: Hancock Street

The last house we made an offer on was a three story brownstone on Hancock St. It had an impeccable facade (recently restored) and the interior had a lot of original details plus lots of wacky paint colors. When we first saw it we got the feeling that this was the one! We already knew there were seven offers on the table, but we decided this is definitely the house. We even walked by later in the day just to see it from the outside one more time. We made our offer, which had to be our final offer since they were already in the best and final stage, at 23.5% over asking. This seemed ludicrous at first, but the asking price was actually extremely low when compared to similar properties for sale or properties that had recently closed in the area.  We believe it was priced to create a bidding war. We waited a few days with no news and then came what we had been waiting months to hear … YOUR OFFER IS ACCEPTED!  They asked us to do a home inspection before they would send a contract.  We did the home inspections, but tons more drama ensued, which we will cover in a future post.  Good news though was we did eventually go into contract!



February 10, 2015


This post is from Punit!  It is Part IV in a five post series, check out Part IPart II, and Part III.

 IMG_3868 IMG_3796

Offer 4:

We have now lost out on three houses, but on to the next house!  This house had always been our long shot, located on MacDonough Street between Marcus Garvey Blvd and Throop Ave.  It’s a massive 4 story brownstone with an amazing backyard.  It is also in the the historic district in Bed-Stuy. We had seen this house when we first started looking in May but decided to hold off after the Quincy house deal fell through. The price on this place was high, but it had been on the market for a very long time.  The house was also not considered livable conditonion.  There were no floors on the garden level or the parlor level and there was also some potential structural damage caused by the (illegal?) renovations.  Even considering all that though the house was still beautiful and so we thought we could get the price down.  We made an offer at 10% under asking, and they countered with 1% under asking and no mortgage contingency.  We went back and forth a few times but utlimately they would not come down in price. We ended with our final offer being  at 3.5% under asking but and still they wouldn’t budge and were demanding only 1% under asking.  We took a step back to re-evaluate the situation and after tons of back and forth with our architects we realized this home was going to  makes us house poor. Also we would not have been able to get a normal mortgage and would have had to get a 203K mortgage on this property.  We walked away severely disappointed. 🙁



February 9, 2015

House Hunting and Bidding Wars: Part III

This post is from guest blogger, Punit!  It is Part III in a five post series, check out Part I and Part II.


Offer 3:

Now that we were renting in Bed-Stuy, we expanded our search a little and found a great three story brownstone in Crown Heights on Lincoln Place between Rogers Ave and Nostrand Ave. We didn’t really know the neighborhood that well but spent some time looking around after the open house and realized we could walk to Prospect Park and have lunch at Chavelas on Franklin Ave. The house already had already received a few offers. We caught the second open house, and sure enough there was a line of people all trying to see the place. We loved it and decide we were going to put in an offer!

Our offer was at full asking price, and we scheduled a walk through for the next day with our architects. The seller’s broker got back to our broker saying that our offer was strong but they needed our best and final. Here went the first real bidding war!

We did the math to figure out what we believed was the average price per square foot by looking at recent sales of comparable houses. We put in an offer at 2.5% over ask. We were excited, and the seller’s broker indicated it was a strong offer and that she happened to know our mortgage broker so that is a big plus. Meanwhile our condo closed in the middle of this bidding war so we had the money to close quickly.

We heard back a few days later that our offer was not picked. Someone came in at the last minute higher than us. This house eventually closed for 5% over asking price. It was an interesting tide of emotions at this stage, elated the condo sale had finally closed, disappointed we didn’t get the house in Crown Heights, yet proud of ourselves for not getting too emotional and making a crazy bid that for more than the house was really worth in our opinion.


February 6, 2015


This post is from guest blogger, Punit!  It is Part II in a five post series, you can read Part I here.IMG_3865We missed out on the first house in June and decided to put the search on hold, but at the end of August  we were back on the hunt.  We had not closed yet, but with a closing coming up very soon, we packed our bags, put most of our stuff in storage, and found a cheap rental in Bed-Stuy. This made open-houses so much easier and served to further solidify our idea of wanting to find a house in what we dubbed “the desired triangle” of Bed-Stuy. The triangle is not a true triangle but is the area bordered by Fulton Street on the south, Lewis on the east, Bedford Ave on the west, and Hancock Street on the north.


The blue triangle represents our preferred area of Bed-Stuy while house hunting.

Offer 2: Hancock Street

House number two is up!  It was also in Bed-Stuy but on Hancock Street between Lewis Avenue and Marcus Garvey Blvd. This house was a smaller three story brownstone right around the corner from all the restaurants and bars on Lewis Avenue and it looked like it was in great shape. The asking price was sky high for the size of the house and we calmly did our math, came up with a good offer 14% under asking price. The seller countered asking for 7% under asking and at this point we started to realize some of the flaws with the house.  it was still running on oil heating.  It had new hardwood floors, but each floor of the house had a different type of hardwood. And across the street was a fire house.

At this stage we walked away, only to come back a month later when the sellers had a new broker. They said they would potentially take 10% less than the original asking price but we walk away a second time since we felt we had our numbers right and didn’t want to offer more than our original offer. Sure enough, the house closed in December for exactly what we had originally offered. If you haven’t realized at this stage, we spend an extraordinary amount of time on StreetEasy and ACRIS.



February 5, 2015

House Hunting and Bidding Wars: Part I

This post is from guest blogger, Punit!

P and J in snow

Let the bidding wars begin! Well to be perfectly honest this may be a typical house search in NYC, but in my mind it was more like an emotional roller coaster ride to hell and back. The goal of this post and the next four posts will be to give an overview of every house we made an offer on and the final outcome of said offer along with the highs and lows we were going through during the process.

Offer 1: Quincy Street

We started out looking at houses around the end of May 2014 while we were still attempting to sell our condo in Williamsburg. This was the first mistake of many, because at this stage we were still very optimistic all would work out with the timing. Only to look back and realize the sale of our condo would only close in mid September. This meant we did not have the funds to actually sign a contract until that time.

So June 2014, we think we have found it.  It’s a beautiful brownstone on Quincy Street between Malcolm X Blvd and Patchen Avenue in Bed-Stuy. Huge trees line the street, the house is a four story brownstone with a full basement and an extra length yard. We put in an offer at asking price and explain the whole situation regarding the sale of the condo being in contract but not closed, so our down payment upon contract signing would only be approximately 3% (rather than the traditional 10%). We hear back from the seller’s brokers that this is all ok, as we would have all the funds by closing and contracts were issued.

We schedule a home inspection which comes back with nothing major. Amazing this is too good to be true, everything is lining up, our lawyer receives the contract, reviews it and comes back to us noting the 3% down is nowhere on the deal sheet, MAJOR RED FLAG! The two brokers go back and forth trying to figure this out, but the seller was apparently never aware of this and was unhappy with the situation and backs out. Queue up the first disappointment of many.

We walk away unsure of what will come next, but in the end this turns out to be a blessing in disguise. We would never have been able to close on this house in any reasonable amount of time given how long the closing took for our condo. Additionally, we realized that Northeast Bed-Stuy was not the part of Bed-Stuy that was right for us.

At this stage, we throw in the towel and decide to not look for houses until we have a closing date scheduled on our condo.



This offer was full of drama but it was only the beginning… tune in tomorrow.