Buying a Home in New York: Crunching Numbers Before an Offer

Buying a Home in New York | The Amateur Everything

So, your team is assembled, you’ve been pre-approved by the bank, have a decent understanding of the current housing market, and have gone to a number of open houses. What happens when you stumble upon your dream apartment (or at least one that you would be pretty happy to live in for a long time)? You probably want to make an offer quickly, considering this is New York City, the rent is too damn high, and housing is always in demand.

But before you throw all of your money on the table and bare your soul to the sellers, you need to make sure you’ve hammered out the numbers.

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Buying a Home in New York: The People in Your Corner

Buying a Home in New York | The Amateur Everything

One thing I learned during the home buying process was that every single step involves at least two other parties. Because of this, you need to assemble a team that you can trust and like to work with. Think of this part as your Ocean’s Eleven (but not eleven, more like three). You should probably have your team assembled before you go to open houses, but if you’re like J and I and have no idea what you’re doing, then you’re probably doing everything at once — researching, submitting items for pre-approval, going to open houses, asking realtors at open houses if they would recommend getting a realtor (their answers will probably leave you more unsure), and trying to figure out how the hell you’re supposed to find a real estate attorney. Regardless, here are the folks you need to look out for:

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Going hard in the paint

Going Hard in the Paint | The Amateur Everything

Figured I’d give you all a slight break in the posts about homebuying and write more about my home now that I’m actually a homeowner. Sorry, this is all that I talk about now. J and I have been hustling to get as much done on the home before I started grad school (at which point life is pretty much a series of wild cards) so we have quite literally been going hard in the paint (and spackle, and trips to home depot). We had about a month and a half between the time when we got the keys to the place and when I started classes (Thursday, September 3rd)… so every waking moment has pretty much been spent in the maelstrom that is this apartment.

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Buying a Home in New York: Open Houses

Buying a Home in New York | The Amateur Everything

By the time you’ve gotten through all the pre-research and have your commitment letter, you are probably raring to look at some candidates for your future Home Sweet Home. This is the best part of the entire process leading up to home ownership, so enjoy it! This is also probably a good time to get a realtor (if not earlier?), but J and I breezed through that step and jumped heads first into the world of open houses. Looking back, I would possibly recommend getting a real estate agent because if this is your first time, it can be quite confusing to go it alone. Realtors can assist you through the negotiating process when you want to make an offer and many have specific neighborhood knowledge that can benefit you. That said, there are a lot of agents out there so it’s good to find one who understands what you’re looking for — luxury? Pre-War? Fixer-upper? Move-in ready? Find someone in tune with your needs.

As I said, though, J and I just decided to go for it and start looking at places on our own.

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Buying a Home in New York: Where do I start?

Buying a Home in New York | The Amateur Everything

There are a lot of things J and I discussed before we launched into the house search, mostly the scary what-if scenarios as well as unpacking my fears of “settling down” and what kind of lifestyles we want. But beyond those items, we also had to dive into finances. Everything had to be on the table — IRAs, various stocks and investments, how much we’re holding in savings, checkings, what post-tax income looks like, and how much we were willing to part with. It’s a level of financial intimacy that we hadn’t fully broached before.

Additionally, we needed to be somewhat on the same page in terms of what we were looking for. How many bedrooms did we want? What’s the difference between a condo and coop?

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Big News! And some reflections on relationships

Big News! | The Amateur Everything

I’ll cut to the chase: WE BOUGHT A HOME!

It’s pretty crazy. It’s all of the wonderful things you associate with owning a home, plus a lot of weird fears and discussions about commitment and scary what-ifs, mixed in with more paperwork and frustrating correspondences than you could ever imagine in a bureaucratic hell-hole (why won’t you just take my money already???). Also, we’re now cash-poor and house-rich. But we did it, and we’re currently getting it move-in ready.

I’m excited to finally start sharing this whole crazy process. It’s something that has more or less been consuming my life for half of the year. I’ve also learned so many things every step of the way. But first, let me say that even getting started on this took a lot of work and soul-searching.

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On Living a Simpler Life

Growing up I was sold on the dream that having a library like this..

…And a closet like this…

…Or this…

…equates happiness. At the core of this is the idea that if we are able to give ourselves all of the options to choose from, we can then be truly happy. It’s this idea of freedom and independence that ‘Murica is built on. So how can we go wrong?

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The Sangria-Off

The Sangria-Off

I take my birthdays pretty seriously. So seriously, they can actually be pretty stressful in the weeks leading up. I am always torn between wanting to surround myself with as many people who I love as possible, and wanting to spend meaningful time with each and every one of them. I have tried to solve this dilemma in the past by taking my birthday celebrations to the next level. A couple of years ago, I organized a linocut crafternoon, where everyone learned how to create  a linocut print. I gathered all of the materials, set up work stations, instructed everyone, and also put together an awesome taco bar (with immense help from J, of course). The next year I organized a ceramics painting crafternoon. Unfortunately, I was too wiped out afterwards to get around to writing a blog post…. But for that party I also purchased the supplies — Pebeo porcelain paints, a variety of ceramics, paintbrushes, etc. — and spent the afternoon painting with some of my best friends. J and I also perfected an incredible pork belly bao recipe, which we served in a massive, excellent make-your-own-bao bar. Add that to the list of belated blog posts…

This year, instead of a crafternoon, I decided to get people involved with a potluck of sorts. I put together a Sangria-off, where everyone was asked to bring a pitcher of homemade sangria to enter into a blind tasting competition. There were scorecards. There were awards. There was a homemade photo booth! And of course, there was a TON of food.

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