The Market

The secret to buying an apartment as a freelancer: magically pull an extra $200K out of thin air

By Beth Stebner | July 28, 2015 - 12:59PM

Freelance apartment-hunters, there's hope! Sort of. In our ritualistic weekend reading of the New York Times'  "The Hunt" column, we learned the tale of Alexis Fishman, a 32-year-old Aussie transplant and musical theater actress looking to move from her Crown Heights studio into an Upper West Side co-op to be closer to the bright lights of Broadway. Her budget began at $600,000, but like so many buyers profiled in the column, she was in for a rude awakening. And then, as readers who (for once) identified with a subject of "The Hunt," we were in for an even ruder one.

In a single sentence, her budget ballooned another $200,000 to $800,000 for a condo (plus she had to pay for renovations!) without much in the way of explanation how. The whole reason Fishman had to up her budget was that co-op boards didn’t like that she wasn’t employed full-time. Which begs the question: How did she manage to overcome the budget shortfall with  seemingly no problem at all, and get a co-op to give a freelancer a chance? And is there any way for other buyers to do the same thing?

We reached out to Fishman but haven't heard back. (Girl, gig-economy New Yorkers need some advice!) Some experts we've interviewed have shared their tips in the past. (One broker told us that if you have two years of mortgage and maintenance payments left over after closing, you've got a great chance.) Meantime, one California start-up profiled by CityLab a month ago has an answer—though, sadly, it's still not applicable in NYC.


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