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Rebuild Your Own Apartment in Hamilton Heights

552 W. 141st St.
Budget buyers willing to take on what is, in real-estate parlance, a classic "handyman's special" (it's a wreck) should take a look at 552 West 141st Street, a two-bedroom on a picturesque block of Hamilton Heights. Harlem has always offered deals, especially for those unafraid of major renovations, but this seems a better value than most at $200,000 for 1,000 square feet, a price not seen since, well, before Harlem saw a different renaissance. The catch? "The apartment needs some lovin'," says Prudential Douglas Elliman broker Bill Pfaff. "There's no kitchen. The bathroom's the only part that works." Plus, it's a Housing Development Fund Corp. building, which means there are restrictions placed on the income of purchasers. In this case, a single buyer can't make more than seven times the combined yearly total of the maintenance ($481 per month) and utilities (approximately $250 per month). (Couples multiply by eight; a family of three by nine.) So if you make more than $61,500, you're probably out. And that's not all: The co-op, which owns the unit, wants an all-cash transaction — check with your attorney for the reasons they may demand this — but Pfaff says they're "very willing" to negotiate.
—S. Jhoanna Robledo