Brooklyn residents learn hard lesson about trust

Brooklyn House of Detention (via Gothamist)

Some brokers think they know it all.

Others may simply pretend out of ignorance, arrogance or avarice that they know what the future holds.

Some residents of Brooklyn learned that lesson the hard way, according to a piece in the New York Times about the House of Detention in Boerum Hill.

The area now boasts a Trader Joe’s, a Barney’s co-op, a new boutique hotel, six new high-rise apartment buildings and 14 modern townhouses within a block of the jail.

The 1950s grey behemoth, as the Times described it, now looks pretty spiffy inside — for a jail.  Nearby residents who purchased homes in the last six years that it has been vacant hardly could have imagined that the structure would house criminals again.

Lisa Goldfarb and her husband Jack DeHovitz paid $3.4 million for one of those townhouses in July after real estate agents told her the jail was going to be converted into condos, according to her account. Their four children have been walking by the House of Detention to get to school every day. Says Goldfarb:

I never would have agreed to buy this house for all this money had I known it was opening. . . We took a gamble and lost on this neighborhood.

Yet the Times reported that there long has been speculation the 759-bed complex would reopen, and the Department of Correction said last August that it planned to do so.  In December, the department made it official.

The anecdote is a pretty compelling reminder that sellers should not rely on real estate brokers, lawyers, accountants or anyone else to do all the research that can prevent disappointment or a financial disaster after their transaction is completed.

Buyers who fail to do their own research, or at least ensure that their professionals are both trustworthy and thorough, have only themselves to blame for any ensuing consequences.

If ever more proof were needed to demonstrate the applicability of caveat emptor, the experience of Lisa Goldfarb, her family and their neighbors is it.

Tomorrow: Weekly Roundup

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201
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