Brooklynites interested in buying, maintaining and renovating brownstones and townhouses heard from experts who’ve done it at “Brownstones and Townhouses 101” on Thursday, September 12 at the Brooklyn Historical Society in Brooklyn Heights.
Three speakers shared their experiences: Anna Karp from home-renovation company Bolster; Ravi Kantha, partner and director of Brooklyn sales at Leslie J Garfield; and mortgage broker Brian Scott Cohen from Wells Fargo.
Some of the evening’s takeaways:
*Gut renovations of townhouses in Brooklyn typically start at $250 a square foot.
*Using a design/build company instead of a traditional architect and contractor arrangement has the potential to save time and money by designing close to budget.
*In addition to an experienced agent, Brooklyn townhouse buyers will need a good attorney on their team who is experienced in townhouse sales in Brooklyn.
*House hunters will have more flexibility and control over a renovation if they fund it themselves, perhaps by making a down payment of less than 20 percent, but construction loans are available.
*Many lenders now offer mortgages at competitive rates that don’t require private mortgage insurance.
*As prices all over Brooklyn move closer together, areas such as Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights can offer good value. That said, for houses under $1 million, neighborhoods to consider include East Flatbush, Cypress Hills and parts of southern Brooklyn.
*Despite an uncertain economic outlook, this is a good time to buy because interest rates are low, sale prices have softened, and inventory is available.
Snacks and drinks were provided by Oaxaca Taqueria.
The evening was the third in the Brownstoner Home Events Series this year. To learn about hosting and sponsorship opportunities for Brownstoner Home Events, please get in touch here.
[Photos by Corazon Aguirre]