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Major life decision - I want this apartment!

March 17th, 2008 at 02:15 am

Yet it would be very tough. We'll be getting $500,000 in debt. Vacation/entertainment fund would be slashed to the bone. Also, 401K contributions would have to be reduced to just enough to get company match.

I am trying to weight pros and cons... But I just cannot stop imagining living there.

So... Pros:

Location - Manhattan, near a park, shorter commute.
Park is very nice, people lay on picknick blankets with notebooks when the weather is nice.
There is a nice long promenade where people jog along the river. I would love to do that.
I can also bike to work - there is a safe enough route on the edge of the island and it is only 45 blocks.
Access to all the things Manhattan has to offer. That one would be hard to explain in one post.

Layout - nicely planned apartment. 3 closets, spacious living room, very sunny, 5 windows facing tree tops. Very charming.

Lovely kitchen with good storage space - it would be pleasant to cook there.

Cons:
it is a co-op, but this is a Manhattan reality. Condos are rare and out of reach.
Maintenance is $900 a month, on top of the mortgage.
Plus, the assessment for new elevators is coming.

The sublet policy is only 2 out of each 5 years allowed, with board approval. So can't just easily rent it out.

Size under 600ft - but again, Manhattan.

Parking -- while this area has an easier parking than most, it still would be harder than where we are now.

DH's commute may be a little longer. (but he won't work in NJ forever, 3 years max)

I know it would be tight for a while, but our mortgage will stay the same, while our salaries will increase (and our rent would too.) I would also dump all the stuff I don't really love and simplify our living. I think, after all considerations, that living there would increase our quality of life. But this is a huge commitment.
Anyone has an opinion regarding this?

13 Responses to “Major life decision - I want this apartment!”

  1. Thrifty Ray Says:

    *cough*...are you on the right site for such a question?? I think I just heard BA hit the floor when he fainted...

    Seriously, I could not fathom those prices and restrictions...but Ive also never been to Manhattan-- it must be something. Sounds like you are sacrificing an awful lot for a co=op apartment, but you have to weigh whats important to you and your DH.

    Good luck with your decision.

  2. merch Says:

    Sounds like the place will hold its value. Yea Manhattan is crazy prices for a closet.

    I say if you can swing it and it's not taking up more then 30% of your take home, do it. Other things to consider are: how long are you going to live there? what happens if you have kids?

    You also might want to think of where the next up and coming area is. Tribeca was kinda cheap before it got hip.

    Just my thoughts. I bought a condo in Brookline about .25 miles from Fenway (pricey town next to Boston. It held up it's value without being in the pricey downtown neighborhoods but close enough so I could go out to eat and enjoy downtown Boston. I sold it and moved to the burbs.

    But it sounds like a great place that might be just outside your reach.

    Good luck on whatever you decide.

  3. baselle Says:

    Good luck with whatever you decide. Somehow, even if it was a palace that was absolutely perfect, and you would be escaping a nutball landlord (how's the dishwasher?), well, 500K is a lot of money ... actually, a lot of debt.

    Also want to think about the housing situation in general and that you'll be on the hook for the debt for a very long time. Will your salaries increase? If we are heading for a recession, salaries might go the other way, or worse, dry up completely.

  4. Nika Says:

    It is definitely more than 30% of our income. I wish I did not follow this rule 2 years ago. If we did not, now we would have a place with a totally comfortable mortgage.

    But I waited until "we are more financially comfortable" and the prices kept going up and up and up. And the housing market in Manhattan does not seem affected by the housing crisis. It is a world of its own. Prices rise much faster than salaries.

    Being overly cautious has its cost as well.

  5. lost in debt Says:

    Good luck with whatever decision you make. I would be terrified having that kind of mortgage on a 600 SF apartment; I guess I didn't realize how expensive city life could be.

  6. Broken Arrow Says:

    "I think I just heard BA hit the floor when he fainted..."

    *THUD!* Big Grin

    Seriously though, I have friends there, and am well-aware how much real estate costs.... Still, the bottom line is that it should be based on whether it's a sound financial move or not....

    I will tell you the honest truth about how I feel. My ex recently bought a townhouse, and while she stated its supposed financial benefits, it was very obvious that she wanted it for emotional reasons. Now, not only is she financially strapped, but she also did this at the expense of our children (forcing them to move to different schools and thus, leaving their friends behind). My oldest kid rebelled by refusing to switch (high) school. Now, he literally drives and commutes to school every day! All because my ex just HAD to have that house, regardless of the consequences towards others, including her own kids.

    Let me be the first to warn you and anyone else in this position: Please. Please! Don't be like my ex. If you want this apartment, that's fine, but please let it be so ONLY because it's a financially sound move to make for you. Otherwise, please at least reconsider.

    Thanks for letting me ramble.

  7. monkeymama Says:

    I think it will hold it's value, but not sure I would buy.

    Actually, quite sure I wouldn't. Been in that position, decided it wasn't worth it, and life is incredibly easier for it.

    At least you can walk away from the rent if life gets tough.

    Of course, if you are 1000% sure you want to live in Manhattan forever and it is worth the sacrifice? Then sounds like a good deal for the area.

    Good Luck!

  8. scfr Says:

    Can you swing 20% down and manage a fixed rate mortgage (rather than an ARM)?

    Do you think you will want to stay in Manhattan for pretty much the rest of your life?

  9. NJDebbie Says:


    The price and the maintanance fees for the co-op does not spook me. I think you should sleep on it for a few days and make sure that you are not over extending yourself financially. Otherwise, congrats and may you have a wonderful life in your home.



  10. reflectionite Says:

    where i live property is quite expensive as well, and every year is goes up and up, making it harder for everyone that isn't in the market already, extremely hard to purcahse their first place.
    i'm going to be extremely blunt here, because i know in the end you will do what you think is right, and you did ask for opinions.
    your pros aren't exactly outweighing the cons. i know you want them to, but i have to be extremely honest with you, if i were getting myself into that much debt, i would need more pros than a park, a view of some trees, and a kitchen with some storage space.
    lets face it, you can jog anywhere. even if you would like to jog along the river, it's not worth a massive mortgage for a small apartment, co-op, less parking, and such a huge maintenance bill that probably will go up. how does your dh feel about it? are you buying this just for you and your commute? can't you meet in the middle somewhere, instead of making one or the other have to travel a longer distance? personally i wouldn't consider buying something where either myself or my boyfriend had to drive a very long distance to work. it would have to work for both of us.
    i am sorry if i put a black cloud over your exciting new decision, but i just hope you aren't putting yourself in that much debt because of a few wants.

  11. reflectionite Says:

    i was just wondering, did you end up buying the apartment?

  12. Nika Says:

    No, I did not. The apartment was beautiful, but I recognized that:

    1) my projected budget was very bare-bone (to the point of unrealistic for us)

    2) I would have dealt with issue 1 and sacrificed for a few years if... we had more freedom and options than sublet policy allowed. (If we could live there few years, until increasing rents would catch up with fixed mortgage - than we would have an option to rent it out and build equity while renting a place further away (in case we had a child) We could rent it out if we went to work abroad (a possibility with my job). This could have been a good financial decision if not for restrictive sublet policy and board approval issues. This is very sad. It took me a while to get over the emotional part of "I love it! It is beautiful! I could see myself waking up here every morning, coming home to it every evening, etc...

  13. reflectionite Says:

    i see.
    i had been wondering about that for weeks lol Big Grin

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