Long Islanders are scrambling to see houses whose asking prices have dipped below $400,000, real estate agents say.
In this roundup of homes that have sold since last fall, two had pending offers within a week. One house garnered 36 offers total. And another, in need of a “cosmetic overhaul,” didn't manage to scare off any potential buyers, the listing agent said
From Bay Shore to Rocky Point, here are some houses for under $400,000 that flew off the market.
Charming, with potential
A three-bedroom, two-bathroom Cape in Rocky Point sold for $363,000 in December. It had been listed for $399,000. In less than a month, the house hit the market and went to contract, said Sarah Fox, of Signature Premier Properties. She co-listed the house with Kevin Iglesias.
“The house definitely had a lot of charm,” Fox said. “It's no lie that it needed some TLC, but they saw the charm and the beauty it potentially could have.”
The roof and heating system were upgraded six years earlier, but the home needed new hardwood flooring, paint, windows and some updates in the kitchen, she said.
“But everything else, I would say, was good,” Fox added. “The structure of the house was great, and I feel like that's key.”
The house was built in 1949. It contains a full finished basement with its own entrance, and sits on a 0.14-acre lot. The annual taxes are $7,315, and the property is served by the Rocky Point Union Free School District.
This price point isn't too unusual for the community, Fox said.
“I would say for the median price, you're looking at around $400,000 for homes that need a little bit of TLC in this area,” she said.
Rocky Point could even be the next hotspot for new homebuyers, she added: “Not a lot of people know the area very well.”
“Center Moriches is kind of like the gateway to the Hamptons,” said Rachel Hujber, of Signature Homes of New York. “You're in the country, yet you're not far away from anything.”
With Tanger Outlets of Riverhead and Westhampton Beach not too far away, Hujber said the location and price point of her Center Moriches listing caused the house to zip off the market in January. The three-bedroom, one-bathroom house sold for $395,000. With annual property taxes of $4,412, the house is served by the Center Moriches School District.
“It was a nice-sized property,” Hujber said of the 0.35-acre lot. “The kitchen and floors were updated and it was recently painted. I know the price made it very desirable; I believe there's hardly anything available in this price range.”
It took 37 days for the house to go tocontract, Hujber said. She and her family have been living in the area for two decades. The community's charm, along with its access to shopping and kid-friendly experiences, made it a perfect fit.
But the price range in Center Moriches can fluctuate greatly, she said, which made her listing special.
“This was one of the cheapest houses to sell here,” Hujber said.
And with all its recent renovations, it was perfect for a first-time homebuyer or someone looking to downsize.
“It was definitely move-in ready,” Hujber added. “The roof had literally just been replaced a few weeks before it went on the market. It was a really cute house.”
Flipped and re-listed
Listed for $350,000, a Cape in Sound Beach flew off the market in a matter of weeks last November. It ended up selling for $386,000, with annual property taxes totaling $10,402 at that time.
“We had a ton of activity on that one,” said listing agent Daniel Bourke, of EXIT Realty Island Elite. “We had over 10 offers. Both of the open houses were swamped.”
Sound Beach and Rocky Point tend to be the more affordable communities on the North Shore, and have come a long way, he said.
“These were once vacation communities for Manhattanites,” Bourke added.
The house contains three bedrooms and one bathroom. It sits on a 0.23-acre lot. Notable features include hardwood floors (which were underneath carpeting at that time), double dens, a wood-burning fireplace and a one-car garage. The yard is fenced in, making it perfect for dog owners, Bourke added.
“In Rocky Point and Sound Beach, you tend to find a lot of first-time homebuyers, especially because of the price point,” he said.
The interior “needed some love, hence the price point,” Bourke noted. Ultimately, the house was sold to an investor, who has since re-listed it for $499,000.
According to the new listing, the kitchen has been updated with stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops, bathrooms have been renovated and new hardwood flooring were added throughout the first floor. The property is served by the Miller Place Union Free School District.
“I think the biggest driving force for why people are coming to Rocky Point and Sound Beach is to get that North Shore experience: Close proximity to the water, quiet communities, with relatively low taxes and low purchase prices,” Bourke said.
Small house, big upgrades
In October, a 600-square-foot house in Bay Shore sold for $385,000. The asking price was $375,000, said listing agent Deloar Khan, of AVS Realty.
The house contains two bedrooms and one bathroom, sitting on a 0.11-acre lot. Updated features include the roof, siding, stainless steel appliances, electrical services and window air conditioning units.
It took a week to find a buyer, said Khan. In his experience, most people interested in this area are coming from Nassau County or Queens, and want to move farther east, but not too far, because many of them work in New York City.
But sometimes going farther east is necessary to really get a feel for the suburbs.
“One of the selling points over here on Long Island is if you go to the Bay Shore area, the lot sizes are big,” Khan said. “The farther east you go, the bigger the lot sizes get.”
Khan said marketing a house using social media — posting a video during its first week on the market, for example — is essential to garnering interest, especially with so many potential buyers searching for something turnkey.
“They want to be ready to move in,” he said. “They don't want to work on anything. And for this house, the taxes are so low. So the taxes drove all the traffic.”
The annual property taxes are $2,954. The property is served by the Bay Shore School District.
The house may be small, but it has big possibilities, Khan said.
“This house has a great potential for extension from the back, or they can go up,” he said.
36 offers later
A four-bedroom, two-bathroom ranch in Centereach came and went back in September, closing at $380,000. It took about 50 days to sell and garnered a total of 36 offers, said listing agent Jacqulene Mitrani, of Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty.
“We actually went through multiple backup offers,” she said. “The buyers of the home were our seventh backup offer.”
Some of the clients had moved on to other properties, while others just never got back in touch after their initial offer, she said. “For me, personally, it's unusual to go back to that many backups,” Mitrani added.
The house, with annual property taxes totaling $7,153, was first listed for $350,000. The property is served by the Middle Country Central School District.
Located on a 0.16-acre corner lot, standout features include a side driveway, a 5-year-old roof and an active rental permit.
“A lot of people who came in were looking at it as an investment property,” Mitrani said.
There was no shortage of interest in the house, despite some inevitable TLC to be provided. On the first day of showings, Mitrani said she was at the house for 12 hours.
“It definitely needed a cosmetic overhaul, but that didn't scare away any of the buyers,” she said. “But a fresh coat of paint is always needed when you move in.”
The house wasn't completely turnkey; the kitchen and one of the bathrooms were in need of renovation. “But everyone just flocked to it,” Mitrani said. The highest offer on the house was $425,000, she added.
“The location, price and taxes being situated under $10,000, that's a big draw-in for people,” she said.
'Definitely a rarity'
In a matter of days, a one-bedroom, one-bathroom ranch in Lake Grove sold for $325,000 in January.
“It was completely renovated,” said listing agent Gordon Lewis of RE/MAX Integrity Leaders. The annual property taxes are $3,636.
Some highlights include a full basement with a separate entrance, and a driveway that was redone this year.
A property at this price point is “definitely a rarity” for the area, Lewis said. Investors and first-time homebuyers alike showed interest in the house, and it ended up going to one of the backup offers.
“A lot of buyers get discouraged when making offers,” said Lewis, who purchased his own house as one of the backup offers. “But it's better to swing and miss than to not swing at all. You have to hope for the best and stay at it in this seller's market.”
The house was built in 1953, on a 0.09-acre lot. Its gut renovation took place 10 years ago. The property is served by the Sachem Central School District.
Lewis encourages prospective buyers not to give up — especially those who are currently renting a home and might be able to make a comparable monthly payment on a property like this.
“It was a small, affordable home, and the taxes were super low,” he said. “Some people don't think those properties exist, but they're out there.”