A four-bedroom townhouse with park views and tons of charm has recently hit the market, and we’re dying to tell you all about it. The listing, brought to market by Compass’ Michael J. Franco, is right next to Prospect Park, Brooklynâs second largest park, and has plenty of outdoor space (and a rooftop deck to boot).
The townhouse sits in one of Brooklynâs trendiest, most desirable neighborhoods — Park Slope — with its leafy streets lined with brick and brownstone townhouses, many of which were built near the turn of the 20th century and have been lovingly updated over the decades by young families migrating from Manhattan. Much like its neighboring properties, the 2,600-square-foot townhome at 15 Prospect Park was originally built more than a century ago in 1915 and retains its old-world charm — but has been carefully updated to meet modern standards of living.
With 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, a generously sized living room, and a finished basement, the Brooklyn townhouse also comes with a few rare features for a New York home: ample outdoor space and private parking (that includes a private garage and its own driveway).
The layout is split on three levels, with the first floor housing a large living room and open dining room — both with distinctive pre-war features like classic moldings and arches — and a renovated kitchen that opens up to a lovely terrace.
The second floor is home to 3 bedrooms and a sizeable landing which is perfect for either a library or a home office, while the third floor is dedicated to the primary bedroom suite and its massive walk-in closet, renovated bath with skylights and soaring ceilings, with a separate sitting area/den. The third level also provides access to the townhouse’s own rooftop deck, which adds more outdoor space and looks like a perfect place to entertain guests.
The property is listed for $4,400,000 with Compass associate real estate broker Michael J. Franco.
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The post Newly Renovated, 1915-Built Townhouse in Park Slope Asks $4.4 Million appeared first on Fancy Pants Homes.
With a brand new PhD under her belt, our latest Mint audit recruit, Renee, is ready to take on the real world with gusto. The 34-year-old is eager to buy a home and ramp up her retirement savings. She currently lives in San Francisco and has just started a full-time earning $87,000 a year (before taxes).
Renee also received a sizeable inheritance, totaling about $200,000 of which she used $30,000 to pay off her student loans.
So, why does Renee want an audit, exactly? Her finances seem perfectly in order, it seems.
As Renee explains, she wants advice around the best ways to plan for big goals like home ownership and retirement. âIâm especially eager to buy my own apartment, but it is extremely daunting (and expensive) in the Bay area,â she says. As a result, sheâs leaning to move to New York City (Brooklyn, specifically, where she thinks may offer more bang for her buck in some neighborhoods.)
She wants to know how much of a down payment she can reasonably afford and how to budget for monthly housing costs.
First, though, I wanted to learn more about Reneeâs finances. Hereâs what the quick audit revealed:
Retirement savings: $40,000 in a 403(b) and Roth IRA. She allocates $200 month from her paycheck to the 403(b).
Rent: $1,850 per month
Groceries: $400 per month
Where is all that savings parked? $100,000 in index and mutual funds, another $50,000 in an 11-month CD earning 1.5%, and remaining $20,000 in checking.
Play Retirement Catch-Up
For a 35-year-old worker, one rule of thumb is that you should have an amount equal to your salary in retirement savings. For Renee, who is nearing age 35, that means $80,000 to $90,000. Sheâs only about halfway there, so my recommendation is to play some retirement catch up. While itâs not realistic to think that she can invest another $40,000 this year, she can do better.
For starters, what about taking advantage of her companyâs 403(b) match? She believes her company offers one, but wasnât sure about the details. I suggested she learn the specifics and try to capitalize on that offer by contributing at least enough to earn the full match. Allocating closer to 10% of her salary would be ideal. (And PS. that contribution is tax deductible!)
Worried that this would stretch her paycheck too thin, I reminded Renee that she can always adjust her retirement contributions each month, but urged her to give it a try. (My bet is that it wonât be as painful as she suspects.)
Pad the Rainy Day Account?
I wasnât sure how far her $20,000 in checking would last her. She said it would be about a 6-month reserve, which I feel is adequate. No need to make adjustments there. One thought: She may want to move that $20,000 to a savings account thatâs a little less accessible (like an online account without a debit card), so that she isnât tempted to cash it out on a whim.
Protect Your Down Payment
Renee has $100,000 in a brokerage account, which she plans to use towards a down payment in the near future. But hereâs something to consider: What if the market plunges six months before you want to make a bid for a home? And you suddenly lose 15 or 20% of your investments? It would take time to recover, more time than you want.
I would personally never risk money in the stock market if I anticipated needing that money in the next five years. And according to Renee, she hopes to buy a home in the next two years. My advice: Protect the down payment from market fluctuations by moving 50% of that money over to a short-term CD and with the other $50,000 sheâs got saved in an 11-month CD, use all that savings towards a future down payment.
Know How Much House You Can Really Afford
To buy in NYC or San Francisco, a 20% down payment is standard. With $100,000 to put down, that means that sheâs looking at homes valued at around $500,000. With todayâs current mortgage rates nearing 4% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, sheâs looking at close to $2,000 a month in payments. But weâve yet to get to taxes, maintenance and home insurance.
Instead, consider a starter apartment, a studio or junior one-bedroom closer to $400,000. A 20% down payment would be $80,000, leaving her with another $20,000 for closing costs. Her monthly payments would come to around $1,500 per month, close to 30% of her take-home pay, which is a smart cap for housing payments.
Have a question for Farnoosh? You can submit your questions via Twitter @Farnoosh, Facebook or email at firstname.lastname@example.org (please note âMint Blogâ in the subject line).
Farnoosh Torabi is Americaâs leading personal finance authority hooked on helping Americans live their richest, happiest lives. From her early days reporting for Money Magazine to now hosting a primetime series on CNBC and writing monthly for O, The Oprah Magazine, sheâs become our favorite go-to money expert and friend.
The post Mint Money Audit: Affording Life After Grad School appeared first on MintLife Blog.
Years before I ever dreamed of homeownership for myself, I was an HGTV connoisseur. In college, I double majored in âProperty Virginsâ and âHouse Huntersâ and spent hours glued to the TV with my roommate, ogling other peopleâs granite countertops.
Fast forward nearly a decade, and the time had arrived for me to purchase my own home. (No granite countertops hereâmy house was more like the âbeforeâ scene in an episode of âFixer Upperâ).
Not surprisingly, TV homeownership didnât prepare me for the real thing. There are lots of lessons Iâve had to learn the hard way.
If youâre gearing up for your own journey into homeownership, turn off the TV and gather ’round. Iâll fill you in on a few things I wish I had known beforehand, and a few surprises (some happy, some frustrating) that I encountered along the way.
1. A beautiful yard takes work
I never met a succulent that I didnât kill. Even my fake plants are looking a little wilted right now. But even though I donât have a green thumb, landscaping and yard maintenance are forever on my to-do list.
Each spring, I spray Roundup with impunity, attempting (and failing) to conquer the weeds. My husband handles mowing and edging.
Iâve slowly started to learn which plants can endure abuse, neglect, and a volatile Midwestern climate. I still have a long way to go in my landscaping journey, but all this work has given me a new appreciation for other peopleâs lush, beautiful lawns.
When you’re house hunting, keep in mind that those beautiful lawns you seeâand that outdoor space you covetâcome at a steep price. Either your time and frustration, or a hefty bill for professional landscapers, will be necessary to keep things presentable.
2. You might get a bill for neighborhood improvements
Your property taxes should pay for every improvement to the neighborhood, right? Not necessarily.
When my neighbors came together to petition the city for a speed bump on our busy street, the cost was passed on to us homeowners. It wasnât covered by property taxes, so we got a bill in the mail a few months later. Surprise!
When you’re preparing to buy a house, make sure you budget for homeownership expensesânot just repair and HOA costs, but those pesky fees that crop up when you least expect them.
3. Brush/trash removal? It works differently in every city
As a kid, I spent many fall weekends scooping leaves into yard waste bags that we left on the curb for pickup. But when I became a homeowner, I realized that my early brush with brush removal was unique to the suburb where I grew up. Every city handles it differently, if the city handles it at all.
In Milwaukee, where I live, homeowners can put leaves on the curb for pickup on designated days. For big branches, you need to request a pickup, or potentially dispose of them yourself. Check with your city to find the ordinances and regulations where you live.
4. Youâll want to clean (or hire someone to clean) your nasty windows
Window maintenance was never on my radar as a renter, probably because I never had more than a few windows in an apartment. But then I became the proud owner of many, many windowsâand all of them were coated in a thick film of gunk after years of neglect.
After we moved in, I started to tackle the cleaning on my own. But I quickly realized I was getting nowhere fast, and there was no way I could safely clean the exterior windows up in the finished attic.
So, I swallowed my pride and hired window washers. It was some of the best money Iâve ever spent.
5. You may feel a sudden urge to stock up on seasonal decorations
I never looked twice at a $50 wreath or decorative gourd before becoming a homeowner. Now, I have a burgeoning collection of lawn ornaments in the shape of snowmen and spooky cats. Sometimes I don’t even know who I am anymore.
6. Youâll need to create a budget for Halloween candy
At least I did in my Halloween-loving neighborhood, where the trick-or-treaters come out in droves.
I spent upward of $100 on candy my first year as a homeowner, and most of it was purchased in a panic at the Dollar Store after I noticed that our supply was dangerously low just halfway through the evening.
Now, I stock up in advance and shop with coupons to save a few bucks.
7. DIY renovation is equally rewarding and soul-crushing
For the first few months after we closed on our house, my husband and I spent every free hour after work and on the weekends ripping out carpeting, pulling nails one by one from the hardwood floors, and scrubbing away at generations’ worth of grime in the bathrooms and kitchen. It was some seriously sick stuff.
Being frugal and ambitious means we can accomplish a lot on a small budget. But acting as our own general contractors became a full-time job on top of both of our full-time jobs.
Simple pleasures like âhaving a social lifeâ or âFriday night with Netflixâ became distant memories. Itâs easy now to say it was all worth it, but at the time, I daydreamed about winning the lottery and hiring a team of pros to handle our rehab.
Watch: Here’s How Low You Can Go in Making an Offer on a Home
8. My impulse to check real estate listings lingered for a while
When I started house hunting, I obsessively searched for new home listings every day, poring over MLS descriptions and swiping through photos. Reaching for my phone to refresh the realtor.com app became muscle memory.
But after we closed on our house, my impulse to follow the market didnât disappear overnight. Even though I was a homeowner, I also had a phantom limb where âchecking the real estate listingsâ used to be.
A friend of mine put it best when she wrote about the sensation of loss she experienced when she âno longer had an excuse to occupy [her] free time with these real estate apps.â Itâs surprisingly challenging to turn off your home-buying brain after months of being on high alert.
9. Youâll never want to go back to sharing walls
I like my neighbors. I like them even more because, for the most part, I canât hear them. Gone are the days of people above me making bowling sounds late at night.
Now, I enjoy the sweet, sweet silence of detached livingâno adjacent neighbors blasting music or loudly quarreling. All the yard work in the world is worth it for this level of quiet.
The post 9 Things I Wish I Had Known About Owning My First Home (Before I Bought It) appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.