Monday, March 15, 2010

☞ DWELL: 4 Sylvan Court Mews House

One of the mews houses on Sylvan Court is now up for sale in East Harlem. We mentioned these homes in our previous post and some of them have seen better times in the past. Number 4 Sylvan Court is now available for the asking price of $799k for the 1,500 square foot, three bedroom, one bath home. The two floor building was built somewhere in the late 19th century and is situated on one of the few mews properties in greater New York City. The 15 foot wide, single family house was bought couple of years ago for $80k and it has been gut renovated since then. The immediate area is still rough around the edges and developing but this might be a great purchase for an entry level house buyer that is open to an up and coming neighborhood. Sylvan Court is at 121st Street between Lexington and 3rd Avenue. The nearest subway is the 4,5,6 at 125th Street. Read about all our mews past post: LINK. Photo by Ulysses.


  1. I passed by a few weeks ago when I read your post about The Harlem Court House. Sylvan Court should be saved by getting the city to give it LandMark status. I'm very curious who owns the remaining boarded up townhouses?
    Add cobblestone and gas lanterns and this place could be magical!!

  2. The church next door owns or did own at least one of the houses. A friend of mine used to live in one and paid rent to the church.

  3. You can find out by going to Property Shark.

  4. You should include links to the listings of properties when you write about then.

  5. There's probably lots of room to negotiate on the price since the developer bought it for nothing.

  6. I recently made an offer on this property that was accepted by the seller for $475K. Contracts were sent out by the sellers' attorney, and comments were provided back. It was at this point that the deal seems to have died, and would be curious to hear others' comments on whether our positions (as buyers) were out of line or whether the sellers are out of touch with the market.

    I should add that there were several points that appeared strange to us as we were negotiating:
    1. The Realtor apparently picked up and left her old brokerage (Barak NY) in the middle of the transaction to start a new brokerage (Regal Realty), and took the listing with her despite it still being active on Barak's web site - the contracts sent by the sellers disclose only Regal Realty rather than both Regal and Barak, which we stated had to include both as the contract rider language stated the buyer and seller would cooperate (e.g. share all costs) to defend any claim against the broker. I am speculating that Regal expects there to be litigation commencing by Barak when they don't get paid the appropriate commission by the presence of this language.
    2. The Realtor never disclosed that she was buying the building next door (2 Sylvan Court), which is currently a shell and shares a wall with this property - is this a conflict of interest, or should this have been disclosed at a minimum?
    3. The sellers were expecting the buyer to pay 50% of NYC/NYS transfer taxes despite it not being disclosed on the listing and it being a previously owned single-family house - this seems atypical of real estate transactions in NY and definitely given the market climate of recent.
    4. Contract required the buyers to use a particular title company (ARS Abstract) vs. any reputable title company - we were concerned that ARS was used originally by the sellers, did not have our interests in mind (most-likely just the interests of the sellers), and, given that it was previously a shell, were concerned whether something might have been missed given the history here; was this wrong? ARS is an unknown entity to us, having been in business apparently only for the last two years based on our research.

    We obviously challenged the first point by insisting on the contract noting both brokers; we negotiated point three to 25%, noting it was generous as such; and requested point four to allow for any reputable title company. All other comments (a total of just 18 comments) were rather minor.

    Thoughts on whether our offer and requested changes were out of line in this market? Thoughts on the $475K that we negotiated? This house has been on the market for quite some time, so I can only conclude that the market is more on our side than the sellers. Although it seems as though my deal has died, I am putting these details out there to provide full disclosure based on our due diligence and negotiations in the hope that whatever buyer does materialize will consider these comments in their negotiations.

    On another note, thank you Ulysses for such a wonderful resource covering Harlem! I have not commented before today (see my other post about the house at 159 E 121) but have truly enjoyed reading the blog and its comments since I found this last year! Keep up the great work here, and dear readers continue to generate interesting discussion and commentary on this great community.