An Update on our House Hunting and How We’ll Become Millionaires in Six Months
You didn’t click on that thinking I had the solution to getting rich, did you? Oh, bless your heart. You did.
Sorry, I should have been more clear. I am looking for tips on how to become a millionaire in six months. Because most of the time, Vin and I feel like that’s what needs to happen in order to buy a decent-looking property in a safe, convenient neighborhood in New York City.
Sorry if this title was misleading. This post is really just an update on our housing situation. This past year has been all about saving for our first home purchase. We talk about it incessantly. Zillow and Street Easy are the new Facebook, refreshed constantly. I pin images of pristine white kitchens and he dreams of a covered place to park his car. I allow myself to dream too…about how much easier this process would be ANYWHERE BUT HERE. Vinny never has those dreams. That man is a dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker. His heels are dug into the concrete and they’re never leaving.
So here we are. Still in our garden-level apartment in Queens, collecting nickels and crossing our fingers that rubbing enough of them against one another will scrabble together a down-payment for a house. This is another area where Vin is standing firm– we are buying a house, not a condo or co-op. It must be in New York City– not Jersey or Westchester or Connecticut or Long Island. And the kind of house we buy must accommodate more than one-family, so we can have tenants rent out the other floor and help us pay off the mortgage. It’s actually a really smart plan, and a great way to invest.
<For non- NYC folks, these are the types of houses we’re interested in buying. Nothing flashy. Almost always attached, with two or three separate apartments inside. It’s the kind of house Vin grew up in, with all three floors occupied by family. But we want strangers so we can take their money. Yay!! >
There are only a few problems. Multi- family houses are plentiful, stunning, and in immaculate condition in a few beautiful areas of Brooklyn like Cobble Hill, Park Slope and Fort Greene. Hooray, right?! But don’t throw any confetti our way- they are almost always several million dollars. I don’t know if you have gleaned this from me and Vin by reading this blog, but…we do not have several million dollars or a down payment befitting such a purchase. That’s some Sarah Jessica Parker shit.
We’d love a multi-family home in Queens, but we’re having trouble finding any in areas we’d consider living, or would have an easy time finding renters. The neighborhood where we live now offers almost nothing. No one’s selling. The few who are are charging an absolute fortune or accepting only cash offers. CASH OFFERS! Who are these people that can give cash offers on a freakin’ house?!!
And then there are the old-school brownstones in the “still up and coming” neighborhoods of Brooklyn. They are listed with hyperbole like “You can’t find prices like this anymore!” next to a soul-crushing number like $900,000.
Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx are not on the table. We’d be open to Harlem, but are probably already priced out of that area.
Anyway, Vin and I took another step yesterday and attended our very first open house. Actually we found one open house on Zillow, and there just happened to be about five other open houses going on at the same time in that area. That area was Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.
I believe the term they use for people like us is gentrifiers.
The first house we stumbled on by accident was absolutely beautiful. It was completely restored with exposed brick and pretty mantles and an enormous basement. The third house we ended up seeing was shown by the same well-known realty company and was in equally great condition. Still, they were both so modern and polished (and uh, expensive), and we’ve always kind of hoped for something with a bit of character, something we can really pour our own personalities into.
Enter House #2. Holy shit was this place a dump. The minute I walked in, I felt afraid for my own safety. The walls, the ceilings, the stairs, the floors– they all looked one big sneeze away from completely caving in. Walls and floors were rotting. The ceiling looked craggly and loose, like cottage cheese. It had clearly been neglected for over a decade and had likely housed a gang of squatters.
This was the only redeeming quality of the house. Oh, I’m a sucker for these. But seriously, that was it. I’m not spending $800,000 for a money pit with one pretty feature.
There was crap everywhere. Boxes of crap. Piles of crap. Just unexplainable crap. You can’t see it in this picture, but there was an enormous family-sized can of creamed corn just hanging out in the corner. So much for home staging.
This was taped to a door in the renter’s basement apartment. I don’t…I just…I don’t know anymore. All I can say is, I could actually picture someone dying in this house, so our hunt continues.
And we’ve only just begun…
Wish us luck.
Give us strength.
Send us money.