I have always wanted to live in NYC. When I was in college, I had the opportunity to intern with Jonathan Adler for three months. It was a fantastic experience and I learned so much, not to mention – It was fun to spend the summer there! While interning I assisted with several projects: A huge modernized brownstone just off 5th Ave, a penthouse apartment in the Trump Building on Park Ave, a photo shoot for House Beautiful Magazine and so much more. I remember my first day as an intern, I went directly to the brownstone and was sent on a mission to Home Depot to pick up some supplies. A Home Depot in New York City – Really? That exisits? Indeed it does, and in fact… They have two! (Having a Home Depot near by pretty much makes any flip possible!!) I quickley went from a small town boy to a city boy as I walked into the Home Depot at 980 3rd Ave! Needless to say, I surived the summer and loved my internship with Jonathan Adler. He was a big deal at the time, but in the last six years since I was an intern – They’re offices have gone from a small suite in Soho to literally being the entire floor (AKA – It’s a major deal now) and I’ve very excited that we are FINALLY getting a Jonathan Adler store located hear in Phoenix! It’s about time!

Anyway, back to blogging… It is Flippin’ Friday again, and hence the story above… I’ve decided to focus on the market in NYC because it’s crazy! Think about all of the realestate shows on TV – Espeically ‘Selling Manhattan’ on HGTV! Homes there sell for big bucks and frankly I found it hard to find anything deal worthy but I found one! It’s located in Harlem which according to http://www.newsday.com, “Harlem has quietly become one of Manhattan’s hottest neighborhood” (To read more: http://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/harlem-is-manhattan-s-hottest-neighborhood-1.7111441)… And I’d have to say I tend to agree, as do most other’s as real estate has continued to increase in that area. Check this place out: http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2289-Adam-Clayton-Powell-Jr-Blvd-New-York-NY-10030/31551928_zpid/

Screen shot 2014-08-15 at 7.46.47 PMAfter last week I was going to aim to do a lower cost flip, but I came across this property instead: 2289 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York, NY 10030. It’s for sale for $999,000 and is a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom brownstone that’s 2450 square feet. Yes, you literally can buy the whole brownstone (All four stories) for a million dollars. The Zestimate on this place is $1,385,442 so instantly that’s a value of almost $400k over list price. However, the great thing is that it’s a duplex and the top unit is rented so not only is this a great flip, but it’s a great investment. I would flip the lower level and make it beautiful for home buyers and sell it as an “income property” so that the new buyers can live downstairs and apply the rental income from upstairs to help support their mortgage. 

Not only that, but the lower unit is in pretty decent shape and has access to a backyard… A backyard in Manhattan… Seriously?!?! That is such a selling point! Obviously materials and labor are both going to be significantly more expensive there, but remember there are still Home Depot’s and where there is will, there’s a way! One thing to consider is that the actual space being flipped is technically only 1225 square feet (2 bed/1 bath) therefore it’s kind of a smaller project. The brownstone is in a good location near the Express 2 and 3 trans and just four Blocks to the Local B and C Train at 135th. Being close to trains in the city is everything because most people don’t have a car! Inside the brownstone, the space isn’t at that bad. From the photos, it seems that all the main spaces are located on the grown level where there is currently a window and I’m assuming the door on the second level actually just leads to the upstairs unit. Therefore, I would actually like to see the window on the grown level removed and replace with an attractive exterior door. Upon entering on the ground level, a buyer would encounter a small seating area, followed by the kitchen which is open to the dining and living room space’s before exiting into the backyard. Somewhere there is a staircase in there that goes to the second level, but it’s hard to determine exactly where it’s located… Nonetheless, I think it’s safe to assume that both bedrooms are probably located up above which could be the reason that this place is a tough sell – Nobody want’s to walk in the front door to see two bedrooms and then go downstairs to get to the main part of the house. That’s why the one simple change of removing the window and adding a door would make a remarkable difference!

Screen shot 2014-08-15 at 7.47.07 PM

Inside, the brownstone offers beautiful hardwood floors and a very open floor plan from front to back. In the photo below, you can see how the space opens to the kitchen. I would keep it this way, but do a massive kitchen remodel. The cabinets could be kept, painted, and reused but at this kind of price point, I believe that new cabinets would be a good investment… Plus it would be great to extend them up to to the ceiling and maxamize the storage space. I would love to see the hardwood floors stained darker to get the space more depth and then contrast that with bright white cabinets. In a perfect world, I would also remove the sink from the wall and put it in an island instead with a much needed dishwasher, and counter seating! It would be beautiful if the island offered the same cabinet style, but was a fun color that brought good energy to the space. Dropping modern pendant lights over the island, installing high-end stainless steel appliances (those burn marks aren’t helping the space at all), and sliding the stove over so it’s not against the wall (Plus the addition of a rockin’ exhaust hood) would all provide so much more function and enjoyment to the space while making a huge visual impact as well. 

Screen shot 2014-08-15 at 8.04.54 PM


I believe the picture above was taken while standing in the kitchen and that what you see is actually the backdoor of the ground level. From Google Earth it appears to have a very green space behind the house which would be an amazing escape to have while living in the city. Therefore, I would like to see the single door removed and replace with large french doors that are complimented by full windows on each side. This would bring in so much natural light and really make the backyard even more inviting! This space overall is slightly on the smaller side but it can be maxamized with size appropriate furniture. I think it would also be fun to stage this home by putting the sofa so that it’s facing the new patio doors. Two chairs could be placed opposite of the sofa with a coffee table in the middle. Then I would actually love to see a rectangluar dining table pushed up against the back of the sofa acting as a “sofa table” but with benches used for seating instead. This would give the space a charming and functional look, especially if those awful ceiling lights were replaced by a beautiful chandelier over the table and a nice ceiling fan over the seating area. 

Making these changes (and of course the essentials: fresh paint, new matching fixtures throughout, and a totally remodeled bathroom) would absolutley demand top dollar. However, when flipping it’s always important to consider the investiment. This brownstone could potentially be a better long term flip depending on the holding costs. With prices rapidly rising in NYC, who knows what this place could be worth a year from now?

MY FLIP TIP: Dream big. You can always scale back your ‘design dreams’ if necessary but at least it opens you up to all the possibilities. I’ve always dreamed about living in NYC for awhile to experience real life in the city… Perhaps someday I’ll have a true NYC flip to share!





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