Condo Hunting

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After a lot of thought, I decided to bite the bullet and jump into the housing search.

Step one was to get pre-qualified for a mortgage. One of my previous roommates, Jen, works in the industry - so I asked her about helping me with that step.

Step two is to check out the market. I despise the thought that i'm buying a condo that was worth 50% of its price only a few years ago, because of supply and demand. I feel like I missed the boat on this one, only because I still think that we are in a housing bubble that is about to burst.

I will certainly expect the day after I close on my house that the market collapses and I watch the value of my condo drop 25-35%. That is the kind of luck I have.

My roommate Kristen has a friend who works in real estate and she has a fair understanding of what I am looking for - she is going to peek at a few places (she told me how she LOVES to look at condos...) and help me find a place that I like. Very cool of her, since I am terrible at getting motivated over this.

I enjoy the idea of finding a fabulous place, but really don't like the whole PROCESS to going out and seeing some depressing overpriced condos.

Its like shopping, for me. I hate browsing, trying things on, and looking around.

I like to see something (either in print or whatever) ahead of time, know what I want - and THEN go to the store and buy it. To me, shopping and browsing and trying things on is like trying to use your feet to eat food. Sure, I probably could learn how do do it - but the whole process of learning it doesn't appeal to me.

I'm still not excluding buying a place in NYC, Kristen is really jonesing to move into NYC and keeps sending me "starter condo's" which are like 450k each.

Can you imagine? I "starter condo" which is nearly half a million...christ. In any other city, these starter condo's would be worth maybe $180k. Or, if you moved into the Philly suburbs you could get a very nice place to live at the same amount.

More than likely i'd like to stay in Hoboken...I think I would get a bit more home for my money here (size, amenities, extras).

Also this move brings out something about me that I realize about myself.

I'm not sure how to exactly explain it but i'm not good at major changes in my life.

I get into a comfort zone.

My job is a comfort zone. I very much like my job, within reason, I find it comfortable and fairly easy of a challenge. Its not something that i'm dreading each time I wake up and I feel like I have it pretty good there (salary and side benefits to working in the office).

The next comfort zone is my home.

I very much like where I live...with a few exceptions. One exception is the whole finding a new roommate thing, which can be cool because you meet new and interesting people but kind of bad because the whole process of finding someone can be somewhat annoying.

I think we all find our comfort zones - like a bar we are comfortable with frequenting or an activity we do on the weekends (like John and his rock climbing).

For me, I need my nest to feel my sense of security. So, even though i'm renting a place right now - and have the money to branch out - the main problem is that unnerving feeling of instablility.

Maybe its just me...but that is how I feel.

1 Comment

If you're looking to buy a condo right now, take care. There is some reason to be concerned about a housing bubble that will break the backs of many who have bought in the past couple of years. The Wall Street Journal made note of this recently. The only way you can fully protect yourself is to NOT buy, but short of that, try this: if your bid on a place is accepted, before confirming the deal, make some quick inquiries and research whether winning bids have been trending lower or whether more first bids are being accepted locally. If so, you're seeing the beginning of a softening of the market.

The last housing bubble we experienced around here was in the early 90's, and it lasted for about 2 years. Some people heavily invested in real estate lost their shirts. Trump went through one of his periodic bankruptcies. Arthur Imperatore, recently famed for taking it on the chin with his ferries, coughed up his Port Imperial project to the more fiscally prudent Joe Barry.

During that dip, some lucky buyers found cheap apartments hung up on the rocks from the last wave of speculative building. I know a lawyer who bought a neat one-bedroom for about $65K at that time.

Booms don't go straight up, trees don't grow to the stars. Hoboken is a good real estate investment, but be aware when you buy.

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on January 19, 2005 12:12 PM.

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