A Central Harlem Townhouse for the Aspiring Landlord

On a price-per-square-foot basis, this Central Harlem townhouse at 53 West 127th Street, on the market for $1,375,000 and divvied up into six units, is about $100 cheaper than one-family or smaller multifamilies in the neighborhood, says broker Todd Stevens. The common areas and four of the six units have been renovated, and tenants pay $6,600 a month to put toward the mortgage. So why the discount? For answers, one need only look at a similar listing from Stevens, a brownstone at 205 West 123rd Street. Though it's been on the market for at least eight months and the price dropped from $1.675 to $1.495 million, it's still available. That's because anything with five units and over requires the buyer to come up with a larger down payment — the bare minimum is 20, if not 25 to 30 percent, says Stevens. You'll also need to apply for a commercial loan because banks consider structures like these commercial buildings. What you end up with is a stepping stone to landlord bliss (or hell, as the case may be). But with the neighborhood growing increasingly fashionable, rents will likely go up, which should make you feel better about those late-night calls about the plumbing. —S. Jhoanna Robledo