buy NYC condo

palomalouApril 8, 2009

I am wanting to buy a NYC condo (likely Washington Heights/Inwood, possibly Harlem or Morningside Heights, but almost certainly not our old neighborhood of UWS) in the next 8 months or so as a retirement home for the future. I would then want to rent it out (thus the condo vs. a coop) until I retire or get a job in NY. I would be in the position to purchase for cash if desirable ( and it seems to me it would be). We also own a 3000 sf house where we are now. I know Harriet and tally_sue are in NY: do you or anyone else have experiences to share re this? It seems to me that about the safest investment I could make would be a NY apartment=greater appreciation than another safe investment. Thanks so much!

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Well, we had the same idea, but then the prices were so crazy at the time we were considering this that we scaled back. We ended up buying a place that is not really suitable for a retirement home for two people because it's too small (a studio) and in a building with no amenities (no elevator, no laundry). By making this choice rather than going for something more expensive, we were able to pay cash, and we have a steady positive cash flow. Our expectation now is that we'll continue to rent it out (we've had the same tenant for several years now) for a while and then keep it as a pied a terre. If we decide to move to the city full time, we'll have to sell it and buy a bigger place.

As investments go, it's certainly not worth more than what we paid for it right now, and probably less. If I had it all to do over again, I might not have made this purchase. But it was fun, and we didn't get into TOO much trouble with this. At least we are not losing money on it every month.

We bought in a co-op, which has its own issues (both good and bad). At the time we bought, it allowed investors; now it does not, but we were grandfathered in. So it's possible to find a co-op that will allow you to rent the place out, which could save you some money (co-ops are generally less expensive and the transaction fees are lower).

The neighborhoods you mention are definitely less expensive and have some nice areas, but they are also more likely to lose value than areas below 96th Street. We never even looked at anything that far uptown.

It's certainly much easier to buy than to sell! So be very careful, take your time, and only buy something that you love.

(Sounds strange, but I do love the place we bought. It's very comfortable for what it is. Most of the other places we looked at were unbearable for more than five minutes.)

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 6:10PM
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