The Market

Lessons from a $300k apartment worth $400k two years later

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By Teri Karush Rogers  |
July 11, 2011 - 11:55AM

In a thoughtful, fascinating post on stirring up our guilty real-estate bubble nostalgia, a first-time co-op buyer explains how he (or she) won the real estate lottery with the 2009 purchase of a modest $300k Soho co-op that now appears to be worth $400k.

It's an astonishing increase for a tiny one-bedroom apartment in a no-frills elevator building. But the account is made even more riveting by the owner's detailed post-mortem on what motivated the choice of that apartment in the first place.

Much of it had to do with a belief in buying "the worst unit in a great area.... I still really believe this. A lot of things have happened on my street and in my general area that have probably served to increase the value of my apartment - things that I couldn't have forecasted two years ago, and some that I saw coming down the pipeline. A good example of taking advantage of this right now might be buying a unit near the future Second Avenue subway line in the 70s."

So is it time to cash out? What once seemed like a no-brainer decision has become complicated by attachment and experience.

"Part of me thinks I should sell now, because my equity appreciation would be ridiculous. But I really like living here. It's got really reasonable carrying costs. I have painted my walls and hung my art. I also did not estimate the dread with which I would face the prospect of having to rent again, threatened with having to move every year or two years. I underestimated the attachment that I'd have to having furniture that is customized for the space, and this is somewhat pointing to inertia on my part."

"Ultimately," the co-op owner advises, "what I've learned from these past two years is that there are a billion factors you can't ever control for in the $$ department. So make sure that whether you buy or rent, you can easily afford it and by extension, you walk into your home every day and you're happy to be there. I hated our rental apartment, even though it was in an ultra-luxury building with the nicest staff on earth and all of the amenities I could have hoped for. For example, I hated the faucets, but I never would have put the extra $600 into "someone else's faucet," like I did with my own. It's irrational, I know, but at least I understand that's part of my psyche."


Related posts:

16 things I wish I knew before buying this place

BrickUnderground's Buyer's Survival Kit

Why you should buy my apartment: Rush hour doormen, banana bread

Some advice on rent-to-own apartments

Read this before you buy, rent or sell a noisy apartment


Teri Rogers Headshot - Floral

Teri Karush Rogers

Founder & Publisher

Founder and publisher Teri Karush Rogers launched Brick Underground in 2009. As a freelance journalist, she had previously covered New York City real estate for The New York Times. Teri has been featured as an expert on New York City residential real estate by The New York Times, New York Daily News, amNew York, NBC Nightly News, The Real Deal, Business Insider, the Huffington Post, and NY1 News, among others. Teri earned a BA in journalism and a law degree from New York University.

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