The Atlantic has an interesting piece on why young people aren't buying houses these days, and how it's all Kate Bolick and the economy's fault. (I blame her pantaloons.) (Elsewhere in homeownership: "Be well, travel light, and give it all away.")
real estate, apartments, houses, renting, buying
...because we have so much student loan debt that we will never, ever qualify for any kind of loan and have to buy everything with cash, so we have to save up for a decade or two before home ownership is a possibility? And also we like renting and not being responsible for big costly upgrades and repairs and taxes? Or just me?
@tortietabbie Same. I love my parents' house, but the effort and expense of upkeep do not look worth it-- including, to my eyes, the ability to evaluate someone's claims and work when you need to pay to get something fixed. And just like them, I know I would be the sort of person with a 15-year old roof that was supposed to be good for 10, who then puts off getting a new one for 3.
I much prefer the "walk down hall, put note under manager's door, go to work" system of living space maintenance. Cheap, predictable, can be fixed with a move if it's not working out.
@themmases Exactly. Buying a house seems so...final.
@tortietabbie Ugh. Yes. I would actually love to do the work, but I have no idea how anyone can afford to buy a house with $100k of school debt.
@tortietabbie I could be wrong, but I'm not sure banks look at it that way? In most places your mortgage payment on an inexpensive house would be less than what you're likely paying in rent, so assuming you can get together a down payment (big assumption) then you should be fine.
@Jon Custer My rent is ridiculously cheap and I don't know how long I want to commit to staying here, so even if home ownership was a possibility I doubt I'd take advantage. Still - having such a huge student loan debt load makes me really, really wary of getting into bed with another creditor. I'd much rather scrimp and save and buy a place out right, and if that never happens and I stay renting forever that's OK too.
@Ophelia i am disgustingly lucky enough to not have student loan debt, and it aint any easier. both my husband and i have big nasty tax bills, and i'm earning 1/3 of what i was a few years ago. buying a house is just a laughable though. ha! who has 20k for a downpayment? is that enough? do you need 50 or 100k? you will eventually. taxes, mortgages, lawyers, insurance, homeowners clubs? 30 years in the same place? i just read some horrific stories about water damage from hot water tanks (? where showers come from i guess) and it gutted some lady's house, 20k of damage, homeowners insurance, rate hikes, getting thrown off the policies, hiring repair guys?
ugh, and all so you can say you own instead of rent? totally not worth it.
@themmases yes i would also have this issue. the house would be falling apart as soon as i signed the lease and the house saw my name.
The ad running next to this thread is a "get out of debt" hotline. HA!
@Jon Custer Not that I'm advocating homeownership at all -- it probably really is a bad idea for most city-dwellers in their 20s.
@tortietabbie Word. And also, job insecurity. I need to be able to flee to another city on a moment's notice if I lose my job or there is a better job there. And I'm mid-30's, so...depressing!
I don't wanna buy a house because I'm pretty sure only owned houses can be haunted.
@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood The house in A Haunting in Connecticut is a super creepy rented house!
@SarahP Did it not get its deposit back or something?
@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood
The renter that lived at my house before us fell out the bathroom window and died. Now our sink mysteriously turns on when no one is in there. HE JUST WANTS TO WASH HIS HANDS.
@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood Yeah, between haunting insurance, ectoplasm damage, and spectral taxes... it's just not worth it.
@BuffyBot How can he sleep peacefully with post-toilet hand-washing left undone?
@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood So even if I do somehow buy a house one day, I will still Never Have Any Time Alone?
emotional and beautiful!@k
...because it's not socially acceptable to live in a treehouse, which I would prefer to anything I've seen on House Hunters ever?
@chrysopoeia Also acceptable: 1950s Cape Cod.
@chrysopoeia No way - it is TOTALLY acceptable to live in a tree house. My dude just showed me a video the other day about a guy who lives in Oregon or Washington and owns a heavily wooded piece of property with lots of treehouses. You can stay in them as a guest or buy plans and supplies to build your own and they are gorrrrrrgeous. This guy maybe? - http://www.treehouses.com
@tortietabbie There's also this place, which I will visit before I die: http://www.treehousepoint.com/
@chrysopoeia Oh wow. Yep, I'd live there.
@chrysopoeia I've been reading the Berenstain Bears to my daughter and totally envying their tree house.
@Daisy Razor That was a good treehouse! Aw, but did you hear that Jan Berenstein just died?
@chrysopoeia As much as Oregon fights its reputation as a dirt hugging hippie hat wonderland, the fact that I can think of several places where you can live in treehouse communities off the top of my wool-hatted head beg to differ... I'm sure there are lots in California too.
@Daisy Razor YES, that might be where my treehouse fantasies began. Possible credit could also go to David the Gnome.
@tortietabbie I think the article is remiss in leaving out both the treehouse market, and the tiny house market. Also, the cabin in the woods where you build one room at a time for yourself market. *le sigh*
@SarahP I read that! The author of the Frances books also died recently, which makes me want to find Maurice Sendak and cover him in bubble wrap.
@Daisy Razor Oh nooooo! I am going to spend the next couple minutes looking at google images of Bread and Jam for Frances. I loved that one so much I colored in it often as a child.
@chrysopoeia @tortietabbie Both of those places look amazing! But WHY am I only finding out about them right after I blew my "Get the eff out of Seattle" money on a boozy trip to Portland??
@chrysopoeia I think my uncle once lived in a really fancy treehouse he built himself. Also on a sailboat. (Now he lives on a commune).
@tortietabbie That place looks awesome but I can't get over the excessive use of "tree" puns.
Can we declare tiny houseboats to be "hermit crabs" from now on?
If I lived anywhere else in the country, essentially, I'd probably own a house by now. But I live in DC, and I am not a rich lobbyist, and so I rent. Now and forever, unless someone decides to start paying journalists six figures. Or until I can start freelancing for a living. Then it's a cabin in the mountains and city living can go straight to hell.
@Emby Similar situation, different city. All my rural friends are homeowners already, getting bank-owned foreclosed properties for pennies a year or two after college. I would love to buy a house while it's a buyer's market, but even with lower prices, I can't afford anything in a non-dangerous neighborhood.
@Emby Same, except Vancouver.
@Emby "Then it's a cabin in the mountains and city living can go straight to hell."
Spider Jerusalem, is that you?
@Emby We live in DC, too. And we were lucky to be able to afford to be pre-approved (required in this market). We are not rich - I'm a grad student and he's a gov worker - but he is established and we had family help for the down payment. So class capital is a factor, too.
If we had had to find another rental after getting 2/2 house in LeDroit Park for $1800/mo (seriously. with a nice patio. We were so. so. lucky), we maybe would have been able to afford a 1/1 somewhere and it likely wouldn't have taken our 50 lb Aussie. So buying it was. And neither of us could or would have bought in DC without a partner, so partnership/marriage is practically necessary as the article points out.
There are drawbacks to homeownership as some of the commenters on the article note, and with a flip you are basically trusting that they didn't completely fuck up anything in the process, but DC's rental market is so awful right now, I see basements in the boonies listed for $2000.
@julia SO DC people, if I will be moving there in a month, please tell me: is it reasonable to want to live by myself in DC proper? What is reasonable in the area to pay for such a thing?
@remargaret I've been v. lucky with renting. Before cohabitating I had a rent-controlled 2 bed apartment with one roommate. If you haven't spent much time here but have friends here, get the lowdown from them on neighborhoods. Things are changing (gentrifying) very rapidly in some areas. I don't know much about SE but there are probably decent options there. Whether you can expect to live in DC alone depends a lot on your budget. If you can afford $1100 or more in rent/month, definitely. If you don't care as much about access to public transit (like if you bike everywhere), you could probably find something for less than that.
@remargaret I hesitate to even say this because, grr, Virginia, but northern Virginia has some very good options and it is much easier to get into the city from there than, say, Maryland, where I live. (But at least I have the satisfaction of paying taxes to a state government that just legalized gay marriage, rather than one that wants to mandate vaginal probes.)
@remargaret Seconding Jon Custer on living just outside of DC. I moved to the DC area in August and so know from recent experience there are no cheap renting options in DC proper. However, the public transit system (which julia mentioned above) is excellent here and so I ultimately decided to live a few miles outside of DC on the Maryland side. As a result I pay $400 less a month ($950 vs. $1350) for my studio apartment than my friends who live just three miles away in the city, and it only takes me 25 minutes to get to downtown. I don't regret my decision in the least!
It's hard to buy a house when you're still living in your parents'.
@heb Are you kidding? That makes it easier! How can I save up for a down payment when I'm spending all this money each month on rent and bills?
i'm grumpy today and this makes me sad. i want to have a good job, be in a relationship, and own a house someday! but all of those things feel light years away
@redheaded&crazy I was talking with my mom last night and she said her best friend's kid, who is my age and who just got married in the fall, is being pressured by his in-laws to buy a house. Meanwhile I just moved back out of my parents' house this fall and was super-proud of being in an apartment with just one roommate. SO MUCH FOR THAT.
@redheaded&crazy I know the feeling. But it's possible one or more of those things could just be around the corner.
@yamtoes or ALL of those things!
easy there, let's not get ahead of ourselves
@anachronistique Don't compare yourself! THAT WAY MADNESS LIES
(full disclosure: I may have spent last night lying awake doing just this)
@redheaded&crazy I don't think I'll ever have all three of them at the same time.
@mascarasnake Once I got done cackling I was fine! Also, it sounds like this is being pressured to buy a house on Long Island very near the in-laws, which sounds like a NIGHTMARE, so.
I've made offers on two houses in the past month and both have been rejected. But it's cheaper to pay a mortgage than rent a studio/one bedroom apartment, so I will keep trying.
@backstagebethy I've never lived anywhere where that is true, even if I had downpayment money (which I don't), so I cling to the upside of renting -- no dealing with problems, etc. And feel bad for my friends currently trapped in bad mortgages.
@backstagebethy Even with taxes? It's the taxes that scare me.
Also I feel it appropriate to say here that my ex thought you could pay for a house all at once, and I was like "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" The end.
@Megan Patterson@facebook you can, if you have $20K laying around and don't mind living in the 'hood in pittsburgh!
@madge Yeah, pretty much. Also if you live at home rent free until you have enough money to buy.
@Megan Patterson@facebook yes! and if anyone DOES have $20K laying around and wants to buy a house in the 'hood in pittsburgh, give me a call!
I was amazed that the article didn't talk at all about how homeowning reduces people's mobility in an environment where selling is difficult. Pretty sure a lot of people are now stuck in homes that they can't sell without taking a massive loss, which is a pretty crappy situation to be in while on a job search.
Maybe I'm biased by having spent my entire adult life as a renter in a country where 58% of households rent, but I just can't see myself taking on debt for a home before I have stable employment (and considering I work in a project-based industry...HA HA HA HA RIGHT) or somehow have a partner who has a stable job.
IDK, I'm pretty sure the model of American homeownership as we know it took a semi-permanent nose dive in 2008 and we've got some major rethinking and restructuring to do. This may or may not show up as the argument of a certain Masters thesis in like 4 years???
EDIT: Also not gonna lie, after seeing the maintainance clusterfuck that is the beautiful apartment my friends bought 2 years ago in an awesome building from the 1880s... Good lord, there is no way I'm buying into an older building like that. Holy.Shit.
@Emmanuelle Cunt "Pretty sure a lot of people are now stuck in homes that they can't sell without taking a massive loss" - man, do I know some people like that here in Boston. Home ownership used to be a sure good investment; now it's not. It may be a ball and chain.
@Emmanuelle Cunt So important! My dude has spent a year trying to sell a condo so he can come hang out in my rental in another province, and the nature of my industry/company these days involves moves every 1 to 3 years, it seems. Buying might have worked in an economy where that wouldn't mean leaving a trail of empty houses across western Canada.
@Emmanuelle Cunt That was the first thing I thought too, I kept scrolling and expecting to get to that part and not getting to it. I would love to be able to move to a bigger place, with some outdoor space, but I don't want to lose money on the apartment I bought in a city where "real estate always goes up." (Bought in 2006. Grumble.)
@Emmanuelle Cunt Yes, I think that's a huge thing. Buying a home means that your economic fortunes could be permanently linked to those of the region you've bought in. I've read so many sad stories about communities in the rust belt or the florida exurbs that have been devastated and people are stuck in places with no jobs or the entire neighborhood has been foreclosed on. That stuff makes me terrified of buying.
@Emmanuelle Cunt YES! I was just coming here to say this. I have friends who have talked about how they could move somewhere else/get a different kind of job/expand their ideas about their future, but they can't, because they bought a house and are stuck.
I work in a job that pays decently and could probably afford a smaller house/condo. But they say you have to live in a house for 5 years for it to pay off, and I don't want to be tied to the same place for 5 years! I can't be tamed.
@cuminafterall Haha I am the opposite--the thought of not having to move my stuff for 5 whole years is a huge draw. Including dorms, I've moved 12 times in 10 years.
@backstagebethy Including college, I've moved 14 times in the past 8 years, but I love it! I guess it's all in your temperament. My lease is up in August and I'm already looking around for new place.
We don't buy houses because we move around a lot -- grad school, jobs, etc. Ambitious young people who are uncertain about which city they're going to live in for a while are not going to buy homes, especially if they live in a city, don't want to live in a suburb, and housing prices are astronomically high.
@S. Elizabeth AND, given that jobs tend to be so unstable nowadays, even if you decide where to move and buy a house in that location, you could easily lose your job anytime and be stuck with a house to pay off and limited opportunities for other jobs in your geographic region.
@S. Elizabeth Yes! Younger people move around a lot more these days, and we switch jobs a lot more--and are still finding the career fields in which we want to stay. Lenders are not super keen on someone who switches jobs often/quickly.
@SarahP I don't know if lenders are that worried about it, when we bought our house (post-housing crash, too, so it's not like they were just flinging loans around like previously), they didn't seem concerned at all about my at-the-time short and very jumpy work history. It was almost disturbingly easy to get a loan, actually.
edit: Also, what's up with that median annual earnings for men chart, that's an AWFUL HUGE TREND LINE to draw from such a teeny little trend. If only the trend hadn't changed, we'd all be gajillionaires now!!
@Leon Tchotchke Really? Everyone's been telling me if you havne't been at your job for more than a year, you're not likely to get good rates. But maybe that depends on your field/job history too? And if you have otherwise awesome credit, they might figure you know what you're doing?
@SarahP Yeah it's possible, I don't know. We had pretty good credit and my wife's work history was a lot more confidence-inducing, so maybe they just took a mulligan on me.
@SarahP I think they largely just look at credit - but freelancers beware; they want you to have been in business for at least two years. My husband and I just got a loan and they wouldn't lend me anything, despite the fact that I make significantly more than him. He'd been in his job less than two years but we still got a ridiculously low rate.
It's cheaper to rent than own in cities. Especially when condo fees eat up about $500-700/month. Also, stupid student loans.
Renting my large studio apartment until I have a reason not to!
@ImASadGiraffe 500 to 700 per MONTH in condo fees?!
that's a typo right
ugh I'm so ignorant about real estate ownership. also hopelessly naive and idealistic. I am so unimpressed with the state of the universe right now.
@redheaded&crazy Nope, not a typo. For a decent-sized condo in a desireable area of Chicago (ie not shady), you will probably end up paying that in condo association fees. Plus the mortgage. I looked into it and I can't afford to buy here unless I had another source of income.
@ImASadGiraffe that sound you hear is me weeping in the corner.
@ImASadGiraffe Not in Minneapolis! I (we, couldn't afford without co-habitation) just bought a house last summer and the mortgage is at least $100/month cheaper than what we were paying in rent. But we generally have a better job market/economy here than the rest of the country.
The big draw to buy for me was that it's money we'll get back when we sell. Also, we got a house in great condition for cheap in a short sale.
@redheaded&crazy It is not that different in Toronto, either - new buildings start with condo fees around $250-$300, and then they go up from there. More if the building has a pool/party room/concierge.
@redheaded&crazy oh don't even LOOK at the co-op / "maintenance" fees in NYC... $2k A MONTH for a $600,000 co-op is about standard.
@phlox BUT I NEED TO HAVE A PARTY ROOM.
btw this is why i live at home.
@liznieve I ALREADY SAID I WAS CRYING IN THE CORNER. WHAT MORE MUST YOU PEOPLE PUT ME THROUGH
@NeverOddOrEven Yeah I was talking about Chicago, New York, Boston, etc...maybe that's why Minnesotans are so happy! :)
@redheaded&crazy I've been looking around Vancouver and it tends to be around $200-300 in monthly fees, though I found a place in a heritage building that was around $700!
@ImASadGiraffe I think in Chicago that's only the case in elevator buildings with many units or trendy loft buildings. A condo in a three-flat will usually have a fee of more like $120-$200 per month.
@yamtoes Maybe things have changed in the last couple years, but I had a friend in Lakeview in a walk-up condo building that paid almost $600/month for her condo fees.
I haven't looked at real estate lately, because there's no way I can buy anything in the city, when my max payment for housing per month is only $850 or so, due to my other debts. Bah.
@ImASadGiraffe Geez, don't be such a locationist*! We're a city too. Two even!
* Hopefully this is obvious sarcasm
@NeverOddOrEven I love Minneapolis-St. Paul! No hate here! LOL
@ImASadGiraffe Depends on the city. I think for NY, yes. Unless you are fabulously wealthy. We own a lot more house than we could afford to rent in DC.
@redheaded&crazy Aahhahahh never look at that stupid NYTimes series ("the nest?" or something like that?) where they show you different condos and list the common charges - they are always like 1500 dollars or more!
I live in a province where the average house price is 4.6 times our yearly income (i.e. Not Affordable.) We've also had a huge influx of people to this city which has driven prices up record amounts in the last ten years, as well as a resource-fuelled boom and record-low interest rates. Pessimist that I am, I'm waiting for interest rates to rise/boom to deflate. I'm not about to tie up all my liquidity in something that may drop 10% in price.
@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) Alberta?
@bangs But shouldn't Alberta have a relatively high yearly income due to oil? I thought it was more affordable than, say, BC for that reason.
@bangs Saskatchewan. Alberta's (specifically Calgary and Edmonton) already dropped 10-20% (2008) and has picked up again, although not back to 2008 levels. Guys it is ridiculous in Saskatoon, it's 1200 for a 2 bedroom mediocre apartment here. Regina has slightly cheaper houses but the vacancy rate is less than 1%. And wages are lower than Alberta. Right now our insurance and other gov't stuff is cheaper than Alberta but the provincial government here is bent on privatizing by hook or by crook, so there goes that advantage. Some days I don't know why I'm still here.
@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) Yes! My guess that I didn't actually put out there for fear of showing how little i know about my country was right!
@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) I've heard that. Still cheaper than Vancouver (and nicer than Winnipeg).
@bangs Anything is cheaper than Vancouver! When I think that I could be living in Montreal for the same amount of money (or less), my blood boils. Sometimes Saskatchewan doesn't disprove the stereotypes, if you know what I mean. Le sigh.
Also a lot of the new houses here were thrown up on the cheap and I am suspicious. There is a new-homeowner downpayment loan program, but it's almost predatory (the house prices that qualify are 180K-280K, income level 45K to 75K a year. I can do basic math - we can afford a 180K house, MAX. And we make more than 45K a year. It's ridiculous guys, I have a huge rant about this, as you have seen.) Basically they are "incentivizing" entry level homeowners to buy way above their affordability level, and the down-payment loan effectively means a 0 down, 35 year mortgage. Am I just paranoid or is this a Bad Idea? I mean, if you have to borrow your down payment, you can't afford the house.
@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) Wow, that's almost as bad as Toronto. Though as I understand it, the vacancy rate has been really low in pretty much all major Canadian cities because no one is building rentals, and there aren't as many rentals as they should be?
@Megan Patterson@facebook Nobody is building rentals here since it's far more lucrative to build single detached. Plus, a lot of the rental apartments were converted into condos. To be fair, the rental market here is a bit looser than Regina, but Saskatoon was about 0.6% vacancy when I last moved (2008). Due to provincial controls, we can't build granny suites/garage suites, so it's mostly basement suites and Boardwalk here.
@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) I would worry about borrowing for a down payment. You can take a certain amount of money out of RRSPs if you are a first time home buyer, it has to be payed back in 15 years I think.
Provincial income tax rates in Que are really high, about twice as much as BC, but I'm not sure how much that really matters?
@bangs I have heard Hydro is Quebec is ridonk cheap though, so much so that a lot of young families in the Ottawa area just hop over the river to buy new homes.
@bangs Yeah, it's 15 years, we went to the bank last month. My family is pushing us to buy, but I'm not going anywhere until I have at least 20% down saved. I'm really worried for people if/when interest rates go back up - I know people who are having money problems already.
@Megan Patterson@facebook Winnipeg is having problems with low vacancy too. Everything is getting converted to condos and no one is building new rental units. Sometimes, the leasing company will just kick you out in the middle of your lease (with 90 days notice) to renovate the place and turn it into condos, or offer to re-sign your lease for $100-$200 more because it's "so much nicer now". Even when it was perfectly fine before. Can you tell I'm bitter? Even when I signed the lease for the place I'm in now I had to sign a clause that said it's cool if they eventually convert this place into condos.
@MaladyDee I-is this allowed? I don't think it's allowed in Ontario. They have to apply to the tenant's board for an increase in rent, and then it's only so much they can increase it by. And the tenants are made well aware and have the opportunity to fight it.
@Megan Patterson@facebook Well, here they can raise your rent as high as they want (no limit) when your lease is up. Otherwise they have to give 6 month notice on a yearly lease, or 3 month notice (I think) on monthly leases. Or they can just kick you out and turn it into condos as long as they let you know in advance. Basically your options for lowering your rent are 1. pleading case with landlord or 2. moving. You can probably guess which one is more effective. Don't you love the invisible hand?
@Megan Patterson@facebook For a regular increase from one year to the next, in Manitoba, yeah, they can only raise it by a small percentage that the tenant's board approves, usually like 2% or something. But if they've made "significant improvements" they can apply for a higher rent increase and they usually get it. One building I was in re-laid the perfectly fine carpet in the hallways and then raised the rent about $150 for all the apartments, and they had 12 floors full of people so that's a lot of money for a little work.
For the "we are renovating all the suites, get out" thing, I'm a little fuzzy on the rules, but when it happened to my old building they offered to put us up in some of the suites that had already been done, and then move back when our suites were done, but that would involve moving twice in 3-6 months (and I had just moved in 3 months prior) and having most of my stuff in storage during that time, and I said "fuck it" and moved in with my boyfriend about 6 months before I would have been inclined to do it on my own terms. And in that case the building was month-to-month instead of yearly leases so I think they could do stuff like that.
But a friend of mine with a yearly lease totally did get 3-4 months notice one day (right after he got back from a trip) that "Oh, by the way, you can't live here anymore, we are turning this building into condos in 4 months." And he did end up buying a house.
I want to own a house w/ a big tree in the front yard I have tended and managed its growth and a beautiful lawn and flower beds I plant w/ my lady-friend, and in the back yard a nice little stone path and a picnic table I built and all of my vegetables and herbs growing, a little basement where I can do my charcuterie and cheese-making, and a garage for wood-working.
I want a dining room, not a table in the kitchen, where I can sit with my partner-lady and a rotating collection of the people I love, and a bedroom big enough to have a couch that I don't sleep on.
BUT I also want to live in beautiful Brooklyn - I keep thinking of moving to Queens so my rental at least has space, but I CAN'T. So basically, unless I have win the lottery or convince a super-rich lady that I'm infinitely more delightful than I am, NO HOUSE FOR ME.
@leon.saintjean I live in Boston. I feel your pain. When people come over for dinner, we take turns standing up.
@S. Elizabeth Ugh, Boston apartment sizes. My current place is like that, but there are slanted ceilings, so if you are average height or taller you can only stand up in the center of the room.
@leon.saintjean I know this is ridiculously OT, but I'm considering moving to Brooklyn from my current place in Wash. Heights- how awesome is Brooklyn, seriously?!- do you have any tips on apartment-hunting there??? Should I just suck it up and get a broker? I'm so afraid of shelling out tons of money and not finding what I want.
@leon.saintjean I would just like to encourage you to actually move to Queens. It's awesome!
@S. Elizabeth I have five chairs. This is limiting.
@LittleBookofCalm - On awesomeness? I dunno, it depends on you. I've lived in Greenpoint but wicked close to the 'burg for 18mos, and I love it - but I definitely went through a phase for a while where I was like "ugh."
But a huge amount of people I know live in and love different parts of Brooklyn. That being said, some friends of mine have left Brooklyn for Queens, and they are all "oooh, we love Queens so much" - but I think they secretly want to live in Jersey, but can't admit it because they're from there and spent all their teen years trying to get away.
As for how to find a place? There is no good answer. I have heard every method possible both work really well and fail for people. I, in all honesty, have only moved twice in the last 8 years, and only because the place I was had run its course simultaneous to a friend in another place having an opening for a room, almost entirely because I don't have the emotional strength to deal w/ NYC Rental Markets on my own.
@leon.saintjean "But a huge amount of people I know live in and love different parts of Brooklyn. That being said, some friends of mine have left Brooklyn for Queens, and they are all 'oooh, we love Queens so much' - but I think they secretly want to live in Jersey, but can't admit it because they're from there and spent all their teen years trying to get away."
:( Astoria is not like Jersey at all!
...I feel like there is no scenario where I can refute this and not prove your point at the same time.
@LittleBookofCalm My favorite neighborhoods are Windsor Terrace and Greenwood Heights- quiet and full of families and walking distance to Prospect Park, with reasonable rent compared to the adjacent Park Slope. I had a stroke of luck with the by-owner section of Craigslist, though if you don't mind some irritating bait-and-switching and can get a guarantor, a no-fee realtor from a place like Rapid Realty can be useful too.
@LittleBookofCalm I am very fond of the Windsor Terrace neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Rapid is not always no-fee... I love my apartment, it's kind of south-east Williamsburg off the Lorimer stop, between the J and the G/L... I paid a fee for the thing, but hey, I've been there for three years so it's kind of amortized out. If you find a place you love and think you can stay for a while, the fee isn't an atrocious way to go...
That doesn't mean I don't want all fee-based rental brokers to burn in hell, though.
Regarding locales: Make a list of priorities vis a vis things like proximity to bars/restaurants/clothing shops you would like to frequent vs., say, pretty-factor or quietness. Because unless you're Bill Gates, you're unlikely to be able to afford a place with all of those things. I love where I am bc I can easily stumble home from bars and also live walking distance to four good friends. But also, the area is devoid of charm and noisy as fuck, prone to barfing 20-year-olds, etc etc.
@leon.saintjean Greenpointer! Been here 5+ years and plan to stay until my landlord raises the rent again.
Brooklyn is great, Littlebookofcalm, don't even think twice about it. Tell us what you want in a neighborhood, maybe some of us can make a good recommendation or tell you about a decent broker!
@liznieve *amend the last part of last paragraph to read: "Because unless you're Bill Gates, you're unlikely to be able to afford a place with all of those things, unless you find something in Greenpoint."
You Greenpointers, I envy you so. Too bad an apartment I would live in (not clad in vinyl siding, not a Home Depot renovation) comes on the market once in a blue moon. Yes, I am picky.
@ironhoneybee oooh! wow, so glad i commented here! You guys are already giving me some good ideas. I just moved to NY in August and have a pretty open- ended lease (I can just find someone to take over my lease). I need to move because I have a 7 foot grand piano just sitting in storage in CT, and since I work as a freelance pianist, I desperately need to have a place that can accommodate it. (I currently have an upright and it's driving me maaaaad.) So my basic needs are a place that isn't too $$, can accommodate my piano, and is close to manhattan-bound subway trains (most of my work is in the lincoln ctr area). Perks would be a place that could also accommodate cats (I don't have one yet but I am dying to get one), and I would really love a studio or one bedroom, but I know that's probably asking for too much given my price range. Bars and shopping are awesome but pretty low on my list of priorities given the piano situation!
Anyway, let me know what you think!!! Thanks for your input, guys!!!
@LittleBookofCalm Then there ya go! I smell Astoria in your future... easy-ish to get to Lincoln Center, inexpensive with space, etc. Also check out Long Island City, although it's getting really expensive. Sunnyside, although further from the city than Astoria, cheaper and maybe you can afford a 1-bed? Or sniff around for the elusive inexpensive, space-abundant place in Northern Brooklyn, although it might be tough. Good luck!
Also: Oooooh, grand piano.
@meetapossum I live in Sunnyside (ok, technically Woodside) and agree that Queens is nothing like Jersey! It's not my dream neighborhood but it's not bad and my apartment is pretty big.
@LittleBookofCalm I'm thinking Queens might be better for you. Closer to the Lincoln Center area and finding space for your piano near a subway in Brooklyn might not be easy.
@meetapossum - I am from Jersey! I definitely feel like Astoria is the main drag of a jersey town, repeated over and over. I'm not knocking it! I probably hang out there as much on the weekend as Brooklyn!
But I'm always astonished to the see the amount of dudes who tuck in casual-wear or wear khakis. That being said, I have met infinitely friendly strangers in Astoria bars than 'burg bars.
Any Slope-Adjacent area is also terrific - but honestly, if you need space for a piano? It has to be Queens. I'm frankly thinking of heading that way myself later this year / next year because this is about to be the 2nd summer I don't have a garden, and that fact is murdering my soul.
@liznieve Argh, I live in Long Island City and you're right - it is expensive. as. shit. I don't get it! When I first moved there, it wasn't so pricey. Now I'm in a teeny, teeny junior-1 and pay $1750 a month for the privilege. The neighborhood is fantastic, though, and it's both one subway stop from Grand Central (on the 7) or Brooklyn (on the G). However, I'll probs be joining all of you in Astoria soon to get some space!
@leon.saintjean I guess the part of Jersey I'm from was too suburb-y/woods-y to have Astoria remind me of it.
Yeah, whenever I go to Williamsburg, I feel like people are more closed off than in Astoria. I like talking to strangers when I'm a little buzzed/drunk, so being around aloof people makes me uncomfortable.
This also makes me wonder how many 'pinners I have seen or talked to at my local bars, just never knowing. How many times we may have crossed paths, @leon.saintjean!
@meetapossum ahhh it is crazy. Especially cuz I'm one of those people who likes to bounce around from one bar to another when I go out on the weekends, I am constantly running into new people - I would be very surpprised if I hadn't already had bar chat w/ a lot of 'pinners and didn't even know it.
@leon.saintjean Considering passing on your Jersey-Astoria comparison to a couple friends of mine in Astoria who give me shit for my Jersey family roots and seeing JUST HOW ANGRY THEY GET AT ME. I am hoping it will be hilarious.
@leon.saintjean Now I'll just keep wondering when I'm out in the neighborhood, "Is that leon.saintjean? Is THAT leon.saintjean??"
@meetapossum We need a gang sign that we can flash. Like an upright middle finger and the pointer making the lowercase h... just an idea. But yes, I bet I have spoken with tons of 'pinners without even knowing it! We're fairly concentrated, it seems, in certain neighborhoods.
@leon.saintjean: I live in Queens and have a vegetable garden AND a dining room. Could probably fit a piano in there, too, if there weren't so many books. Maybe in the sun room? Oh - did I not mention the sun room? Yeah - there is a sun room. Brooklyn can suck it.
I am a young person who is married, paid off my student loans, AND is looking to buy a house! I DEFY ALL STODGY REPORTERS' TRENDS.
But it turns out looking to buy a house is hard, thankless work. It isn't fun at all!
At least being married is awesome.
@SarahP so i read this thing on the internet that says to be friends with people whose lives you want to emulate/body morph into
@redheaded&crazy What's in it for me?
KIDDING, kidding, kidding, let's be bffs.
@SarahP there is nothing in it for you i am a slack-jawed layabout with no future prospects.
I guess you'll look good comparatively and can feel superior! that's what friendship is all about right?!
@redheaded&crazy You can pay me for my presence in awesome/awful dating stories. I miss those.
@SarahP Does this mean we can have Pinups at your house?
@SarahP I am also a married young person who bought a house about a year ago. You know, I think the student loans really are the key here. The mr. and I both went to a cheapo state school, got scholarships, and had parents who contributed. We were left with small student loans and tried really hard to pay them off quickly. Lots of my friends (especially those who didn't go to a state school) are still totally buried by their loans.
Not being able to easily move is a HUGE thing, though. I am ok with this because we love our little city and wouldn't want to leave, but these days moving around to different jobs is the big way to advance in your career and make more money.
@SarahP ...but did you marry when you were in your 20's? because if so, you're apparently just living on borrowed time before you divorce.
@teenie hey now don't you talk to my bff that way! you're killing my dream here. if i'm not married and loaded by the time i hit 29 heads will roll people. heads. will. roll.
@SarahP "hard, thankless work"? Shopping for a home is tons of fun! It was the stress of the month after signing the purchase agreement -- appraisal, dealing with the lender and the underwriting paperwork, are we going to close on time -- that was hell.
@anachronistique I hope so! But we're looking in Waltham, and I don't know if any of you will venture out to us. (But the 70 bus goes right there!)
@teenie I got married in October, a couple months after my 26th birthday. So maybe we're not doomed because I passed 26?
@redheaded&crazy Nice job, bff!
@RustBeltFag@twitter I think the house-buying is just as stressful--probably because I know the place has to be worth all the businessy nastiness that comes after.
@OhMarie Yeah I really wish I had parents that helped me pay for anything school-related. Instead of stealing my identity and putting me in a lot of extra debt (thanks Mom).
@SarahP Me too! I got married at 24, though, so there's a chance I'm on the fast train to divorce? Of course, when I say "looking to buy a house," I mean "scouring Zillow for condo listings in Jamaica Plain." Haven't done any of the actually work (getting pre-approved for a mortgage, etc) yet.
@see.emily.read Start going to open houses! Even if you're not super serious about buying yet. It's fun and helps you get a better feel for what's out there than pictures online.
1. Go back to school and acquire more student loans
2. Continue frivolous spending habits
4. Use my abundance of riches to buy ideal properties in perfect locations.
5. Swim in room full of coins.
@LaLoba I am happy to say I have achieved all of your lofty goals. Well, with the possible exception of #4. And the coins still count if they're pennies that I just don't have the energy to schlep with me to the nearest Coinstar, right...?
@LittleBookofCalm Have you spray painted them gold?
@LaLoba Just like the opening credits for Duck Tales
@Megan Patterson@facebook Exactly. Exactly! http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/48/DuckTales_%28Main_title%29.jpg
I owned in San Diego county when the real estate frenzy was in FULL EFFECT and you risked the GREATEST WOE if you didn't purchase STAT! well, my ex and i purchased, just at the peak of the housing bubble, and ended up foreclosing just over 2 years later. that burned so bad that i don't know if i'll ever own again. that, and i hate house maintenance - let the landlord take care of it! (only applicable if you have a cool landlord)
The article draws a correlation between lower marriage rates and lower homeowner rates. Let gays marry, already!
@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) I wonder how home ownership rates compare in states with legal same-sex marriage and what the proportion is like. There are probably a crapton of other factors, blah blah statistics, but still.
@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) well if that ain't a total corruption of the American Dream then I don't know what is!
@redheaded&crazy Gay people in houses = End Times. You guys sure are weird down there.
@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) I'm not really surprised? People tend to put off both getting married and owning a home until they're reasonably settled-in and stable. There are a lot of people whose lives have been radically undercut by the economy and changing business practices. I'm guessing The Atlantic would like us to get all pouty about kids these days without considering much else beyond their blatant libertine shucking of care and duty, though.
@wharrgarbl As someone who waited awhile to get married and will not buy a house in the next 10 years or so, I concur. And don't get me started on the kid thing.
PS: did anyone read the article containing the blurb on Ms. Bolick's pantaloons? a bit OT, but it would be nice to hear about people who don't live well with others... i do great with family and/or a partner (like the future Mr. Teenie) but right now Mr. Teenie's BFF and his girlfriend are living with us for about 2 months, and I had a total meltdown 2 nights ago because MY HOUSE IS NOT MY OWN ANYMORE!!! anyone have some pointers?
@teenie Heyyyyy there! Except I don't really live well with anyone anymore. Maybe (maybe!) I would try it with the appropriate dude but it was such an unmitigated disaster the first time I don't even know. If you (temporarily) can't have your own space I'd recommend creating little outside-the-home spaces: go to the gym, sit in a coffee shop with a book, check out a museum, have a glass of wine at a bar on your own.
I wanted someone in that article to be all: I live alone but I haven't fallen into a pit of ever-spiraling quirkiness. Like: my place is super clean and I do make elaborate meals for just me. So even if I talk to my cats or pee with the door open I still exist the "normal" spectrum of human behavior as defined by the author.
Thanks a lot. Now you've got me searching through the real estate website instead of doing real work.
Actually...thanks a lot!
Except that I have no hope of buying any time in the next 5 years. Sad face.
Also kinda OT: Have y'all read the Atlantic article (linked to from this one) on The End Of Men? Probably, it got a ton of attention when it came out. What do you think about it? I'm not sure what to make of it. There's a real dearth of actual statistics in there, and it seems fairly panicky...but anecdotally speaking, when it talks about focused young women in class and bored, hung over dudes...yeah, that's pretty much what college looked like back in the 90s to me.
Oddly enough, buying a non-flooded, beautiful, 150-year-old cottage in the least-murderous neighborhood in New Orleans turned out to be the worst financial move of my life (well, I suppose it's tied with going to law school). Blargh!
@Lemonnier Damn it! My dream is to go to Law School at Tulane, and then buy a big, non-flooded, beautiful Victorian gingerbread around Audubon park or St. Charles. Is this really a terrible idea?
@jule_b_sorry Not terrible, just not very realistic right now? First of all, law school: probably a bad idea in general for the next few years. The legal market everywhere is terrible, and the one in New Orleans is especially shitty right now. In my experience, though, it is better if you're from there and can work friend/family connections, and if you're male. Also, if you can, go to the best school you can get into, not Tulane. You don't need to go there to learn Louisiana civil law; you can learn that stuff during bar review and easily pass (I did).
As for the big house, you're talking about one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city. I mean, the houses are cheap compared to the Northeast (I get a kick out of New Orleanians bragging about living in a $800,000 house. That's a starter home where I'm from!), but on a NOLA law salary, even at one of the big firms, you're going to need more than that (rich spouse or parents, inheritance from maiden aunt) to buy one of those houses.
Good luck, though! Practicing law can be great, and old houses are the best.
Does anyone else in NYC have no interest in buying because it's impossible to tell what New York City neighborhood is going to be like in a couple of years? I'd be terrified of buying something in a neighborhood I liked only to have everything I love eaten by condos in five years.
I mean, not that I could afford to buy if I wanted to, but that's just another reason why I have no interest.
@paddlepickle I have a lot of issues with buying in NYC - mostly that the cost is so insane and you're paying co-op fees on top of that. But also because a lot of the new construction on the market was hastily built and is utter and complete shit: I've had one friend with a raccoon infestation because the construction company didn't seal a hole in the back wall, another friend's floors buckled, another friend is suing the construction company for the cost of repair and wall replacement due to water damage. And these were for apartments that they paid twice the cost of a four bedroom house in middle america.
@parallel-lines Real talk: raccoon infestations are not the hilarious romps that Parks and Recreation makes them out to be!
@parallel-lines And old buildings have their issues too. Not to mention the weird co-op board dynamic. I did it, and mostly am glad, but it's not really like owning a house or a condo in any other place in the world. The thing I like about it is I feel more... connected to my neighborhood and the city. I probably COULD have done some stuff that would have made that happen as a renter, but I'm not much of a joiner. I am slightly trapped though, which makes me a little sick if I think about it. Not that I want to move, but even if I did I couldn't without taking a financial hit. This was part of the reason I bought though. To force myself to be less of a nomad. Which is kind of effed up.
@Lemonnier Still, my mind is having a hilarious romp just THINKING about raccoon infestations.
@catfoodandhairnets I hate the limitations that come with having to answer (and pay!) a co-op board after paying such insane prices for an apartment, and then having very little say on being able to make changes or do what I want with the space. Like, if I were to buy a house and let's say I wanted to change the front door or put in new locks or move in large furniture--I could do that, no problem. But not in an apartment...
@parallel-lines omg did we have the same friend with the raccoons? or are the raccoons just moving the hell in now?
@parallel-lines depends on your apartment. i've added and changed locks on my door with my landlord's blessing (thanks psycho ex!). we're also allowed to paint and do whatever in my current place, i can't imagine why you'd want to change out a door, but if it was an upgrade the landlord would probably be down.
we're in a unique situation though, our apartment has gone un-rented for long stretches of time, so mostly they're happy to have someone up there keeping the lights on and the pests away and a check at the OH SHIT MY RENT CHECK BRB
@werewolfbarmitzvah It's all fun and games until you have some surly Brooklyn raccoon pushing out your light fixtures and trying to squeeze out the resulting hole in the ceiling.
@parallel-lines One of the sad things about getting older is realizing how I am actually not the crazy anarchist I thought I was. Most of the rules are not actually insane. In my building any building/knocking down of walls, plumbing or electrical has to be done by licensed contractors and we can't move whole apartments on weekends or have furniture deliveries after 10pm. I'm OK with this! I don't want my upstairs neighbors shifting pianos above my head at 1am, or my downstairs neighbors hiring sketchy builders who will accidentally knock down supporting walls. Rules! They help us all get along! Paint and dramatic shelving/closet building, interior door hanging, retiling, etc. are all fine.
I live in NYC where it's not absurd for a one bedroom apartment in a good/desirable neighborhood to go in the ballpark of $500,000 (and that's the low end). Why aren't I buying an apartment that would give me a mortgage, maintance and tax payment that breaks down to around $3K/month when I rent a two bedroom for $1500? Are they kidding me with that shit?
@parallel-lines My thoughts exactly.
@Lily Rowan This is a good/depressing tool: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/business/buy-rent-calculator.html
@parallel-lines Yeah, fascinating! My rent in NYC was so good, renting was better for at least 30 years. In Boston, they say owning is better after 9 years, but that assumes both 20% down AND steadily increasing value of the place.
@parallel-lines Well it looks like it is never better, even after 30 years, for me to buy rather than rent in Chicago, for what I pay in rent and what it would cost to buy a condo.
@parallel-lines That calculator laughed me right off the website. I am not a good candidate!
That whole buy a house in your late twenties thing is nonsense left over from the days of "Marriage, house, kids!" being the only life plan people have. Now we don't have that expectation and our plans are something along the lines of "College, ?????, volunteering in developing countries, traveling, grad school, retreat into the woods, date? somebody? maybe? fuck it"
Also, oh my god you people in your major cities, get rid of them they are revolting with their real estate prices!
@Third Wave Housewife I wanna stage a small-town revival! Why is everyone so obsessed with citiesssss???
Something else left out of the article: if you go to graduate school, even if you did it without debt (go STEM fields!), you graduate in your mid twenties at best and you've lost years of earning money for a downpayment. My husband finished at 30 and I finished at 28. Clearly we weren't going to be buying a home in insanely expensive California while our only income was our graduate stipends and we expected to move in a few years.
@Craving Brownies But I have already lost years of earning for a downpayment by graduating into a recession and working in journalism and non-profits (not that journalism ever made me a profit). And I just applied to grad school. Go, go, gadget debt arms!
At least indentured servitude was only for three to seven years. Conclusion: No homeowning for editrickster.
You are all crushing my dreams! My boyfriend and I just put in an offer on a house and we are super excited about it. After spending over 50K in rent over the past 5 years with nothing to show at the end of it, I am excited to actually own something. We both have steady jobs, no student debt, and enough money for a nice down payment. Tell me this is the right decision!
@captain mal If you are confident you will be able to remain in the same city without adversely affecting you careers, GO FOR IT!
@bitzy And if you can afford the associated costs with a house (taxes and maintenance, esp. maintenance). Also, make sure you have room in the budget if interest rates go up.
@captain mal This is highly dependent upon the market you're in. If you've done your research, I think you are good! Especially considering interest rates at the moment.
@captain mal My boyfriend really wants to buy a house, but I can't get past my fear of random surprise expenses that would come up -- like broken water heaters or replacing a roof -- to move forward with it. It can still be a wise investment as long as you know what you're doing! Like you said, it's frustrating to throw money away year after year in rentals. Home ownership also appeals to me because it's the ultimate long term project, something you can mold into your own. It's a hell of a lot of work, sure, but it also sounds like a lot of fun... not to mention extremely rewarding.
I live in California so my only reaction is hahahahahahahahahahasob
@Diana Yeahhhhhhhhh. Exactly. The closest I'll ever come to owning a home is if my parents still own theirs when they die. Then I'll own half of a home with my sister. (Can't say?)
@Diana I'm right over here in Cali laughsobbing with you.
Does anyone know anything about buying out of foreclosure? We are moving to San Francisco soon and would never be able to afford anything on the open market, but there are some VERY attractive foreclosure listings. I know there is often significant property damage but beyond that, what's the catch?
Okay, now that's a Monopoly Junior house piece, isn't it? The fact that I know that is yet another clue as to why I won't be buying anytime soon.
Ugh, that article made me see red. I live just outside DC, and I AM a lobbyist, but the kind who works at a nonprofit and is in grad school and is terrified of ever having to move because I'm FINALLY in a neighborhood with marginal access to suburban transit and no stabbings. And even if I ever manage to finish school and get married and get a somewhat better job, I've done the math! I wouldn't be able to scrape up a downpayment in the next decade. Maybe the next twenty years, if the gods smiled upon me and I found a surprise dead rich uncle. Dude, Atlantic, I want nothing more than to spend my weekends patching up a cute little row house and hanging my own crooked drywall, but it's not in the cards.
TL;DR, I am SICK of being told how immature I am for not being married/a homeowner/a parent/etc.
@bowtiesarecool ... I am almost certain you are my pinpal. Hi!
@Alixana Hi! And NOW THE SECRET IS OUT. Ahem. Write me back so I can send you more strange stickers and kvetch about Stephen Moffat!
@bowtiesarecool This is very exciting. I figured I was either right or you'd think I was a creepy stalker! Or maybe both!
I loved my monkey sticker, and got you a tiny present at the Frank Lloyd Wright studio when I toured it last weekend :). Will write and send it ASAP!
@Alixana My pinpal hasn't written back to meee... I have been rejected by an Internet stranger :(
@moosette And I included stickers!
@moosette Noooo I am sure it is not personal! People just get busy! She will write, I am confident about it.
@Alixana Thank you! I will keep checking the postbox :)
PS Eek please don't eat me! I am not convinced that pangolins are polar bear proof.
@moosette Don't worry, barring extreme global warming I am sure that no pangolin will ever meet any polar bear.
Also, what I have just read on Wikipedia about the preparation of pangolins for eating cannot ever be unread. Ugh!
@moosette Oh no, don't read about the horrible things people do to pangolins. I once dreamt that I owned a pangolin sanctuary - this obviously means it is my True Calling in Life...
Can someone explain to me why people want to buy houses? I mean, other than being able to paint and plant things (I get that). Now, I pay less in rent than I would if I owned, and if anything breaks, my landlady has to pay for it. Other than tax benefits, why give that up? Homeownership just seems stressful and scary. I mean, I live in a place where it's way way beyond my means unless and until I win the lottery, but seriously, what's with the obsession with owning a home?
@thebestjasmine In my case, it's 100% the painting and planting. Also, I like the idea of not having to leave if my landlord gets foreclosed, or decides to sell, or to stop allowing pets, or to triple the rent. And I'm a renter in a condo development right now, and really dig having neighbors who've been there for 20+ years. There's something reassuring about all the stability.
Theoretically, you could get all those things by renting a house in a stable community, but doing that is about as financially impossible as buying (for me), so....yeah.
@bowtiesarecool See, I especially don't understand condos! It's like all of the bad stuff about an apartment, and all of the bad stuff about owning a house all in one! I mean, it's all definitely a product of where you live -- I get all of the above where I rent, but I would ever ever ever be able to afford to buy where I rent (except for the lottery winnings above).
@thebestjasmine I get to paint, in my apartment. And we had vermicompost and veggies hanging out on the back balcony until the roommate who tended them all moved out. These things are not impossible to find in a rental! Just not inalienable rights.
@thebestjasmine Your questions probably illustrate why the housing market is going to shit. The next generations are asking questions instead of just buying buying buying.
@thebestjasmine Painting, planting, and goats! AND chickens! I can't have those while renting my apartment.
@thebestjasmine I'm deadly tired of landlords. And their rules. You can do this, but you can't do this. You can have a fish, but not a cat. I own it? It's my space. After what feels like eons of renting - coastal California, hello! - I'd loooovvve to own a house, even a wee, half-falling down one.
Its due to youngster still prefer to travelling to one place to other place. Thats why its not something that they want to just stay in one place. Woodland Park Residence.
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