Let’s start from the beginning.
As some of you know, for several years I have been looking for a place to buy. By “place” I mean an apartment, and “several” means more than three. Now, apartment could be a condo or a coop; as much as I would love to own a condo and be practically my own boss my bank account would not bear it. Geographically speaking I like my neighborhood, Bay Ridge; have been living here for over 10 years and besides, I believe if I move the terrorists win. Wasn’t looking for a house: 1st, with over $750K median price, it’s definitely out of my reach; 2nd, I have already had a chance to live in a house, all of 8 entertaining years – since it was paid for by a mortgage, I can’t say I owned it, although everyone around use this deceiving verb – and even though the experience was educational, I don’t want to repeat it. 3rd…but two is enough.
So, all these years I have been renting and looking. Seeing many apartments helped me to define what it is exactly I am looking for. My friends and family told me I am too rigid in my requirements, that i will never find the exact place to my specifications and that I am using my laundry list as an excuse to seat on my butt [pardon me, that was a quote.] They don’t understand: this is probably my only chance to buy a place of my own; I am not planning to flip houses for profit or jetset among 5 rotating residences: this will be my home for many years to come, so why rush into something I might be disappointed with tomorrow? And that’s how [redacted] years passed.
All of last year, among other personal worries, I periodically forgot about apartment hunting. Until one day when casual remark during phone conversation made me think: now is the perfect time to make lemonade out of lemons. I may have no money, but I do have time – time to spend, for instance, on visiting open houses and on comparing R.E.listings.
Among number of various “possibles” in early Fall I saw 3 apartments in the same building (not simultaneously). One was on the 1st floor – that was its major minus, besides the price that was about $30K higher than the condition it was in suggested. Another, on the contrary, was on the last floor – right under the hot roof, and was advertised as “perfectly designed and lovingly maintained”. Well, if owners’ idea of perfection was a knocked down wall between bedroom and bath and a breakfast counter that blocked the access to the living rm – I applaud the daring, but want no part in fixing it on my buck.
The third was dream come true. Right off the bat, I realized it has everything I put on my list. There were minor minuses I was willing to overlook (yes, I am not that rigid as some say!) I made an offer, 10K lower than asking price. The broker returned to me saying there are two more buyers who made counter-offers, in increments of 3K (don’t ask). I raised another $5,000. He got back to me, saying the seller considered all three of us and want to go with me – if I add another 5K. A bidding war, in this economy! I passed. The seller went with my competitor and apartment entered into contract. Regretted it, oh how many times I regretted it later – but I really couldn’t risk another $5 thou, or more if game would go on, not with my at-that-time-scant income.
After New Year I continued to browse the ads, more out of habit – until one fine winter morning I noticed familiar photos in Craigslist RE section. Same apartment was back on the market – with different R.E. agency. I called and made an appointment. Walked through: nothing changed since I saw it, except more dust and musty not-lived-to smell, and I asked the broker directly: what happened to a previous buyer, whose offer I know was accepted? After lengthy disclaimers she finally spilled it: the buyer put too much into deposit, overextended their bank account and when their application was discussed by the coop board they couldn’t comply with coop requirement of minimum 6 monthly maintenance fees put in escrow!
So that was my chance. Then and there I said I am repeating my previous offer -and that I am not going to negotiate anymore, take it or leave it.
They took it – in two days.
[to be continued]