Movin' On Up...?

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Things happen so quickly around here, sometimes.

Last week, I was doing my weekly reading of a website of properties in Hoboken. I saw a property that looked interesting, it was a 2 bedroom on 12th and Adams for $600,000. I was doing the math, and thought I could swing it, if I got another roommate for the 2nd room. I emailed the realtor about it.

Later that day the realtor emailed me back, saying he could show it that night. I thought about it and declined. I just didn't want anymore roommates. After 14 years (not counting college) of living with roommates, i'm just ready to be alone for a bit. I don't (or didn't) mind roommates, for me I was very lucky to meet some cool people over the years that were good roommates. I also met some latent psychopaths, and was lucky to get out unscathed.

I emailed the realtor about it, and we had a discussion about the real estate market. I went on about my bearish forecast for the market, and he tried to dissuade me. I was very impressed how tolerant he was of my dissenting views. Most people who work in real estate or own a home aren't as bearish as me about the market, for obvious reasons! But he did explain, patiently, about the different factors that could affect Hoboken, and that a downturn is possible, but realistically if I plan on being here for 5+ years, it makes sense to just ride out any market cycle. The gains of 20% might be over, but even with a return of 5-8% a year still makes real estate a good investment.

We looked at various places in town, about 5 in all. I got prequalified by a broker in town, and knew that my interest rate would be 6% over 30 years for the primary mortgage and 8.25% for the second loan to cover the difference between the cash I put down towards 20% of the total loan. So that made things easier on me.

After looking at a few places and factoring in various "wants" and "needs", I found a place I liked downtown, about 5 blocks from the PATH. I went home, and did some math with Brad, who came up for the day to help me look at some places and crunch some numbers.

We went over the costs involved. I had my mortgage numbers, my tax numbers and my maintenence. But how much did I really spend a month? To be honest, I really didn't know. I don't balance my checkbook. I really don't pay attention to bills. I just pay what I owe, putting most bills (cable, internet, cell phone, gym) on my credit cards. I pay a monthly parking fee at a local lot. I pay PSE&G directly. My car insurance is directly taken from my bank account. So are my monthly whole life insurance, and other investments. Once I did the math, I was a bit surprised how much i'm spending a month.

But even then, adding the mortgage, I figured out that I could afford my own condo.

I put in a bid below asking price on Saturday night. The representing realtor hasn't gotten back to my realtor, and so now I wait to see.

The condo is nice enough. 685 square feet, wall mounted A/C, boxy layout. It has coin operated laundry on the floor, and rental parking is across the street. It needs some work. A new paint job is absolutely needed - the colors look like they were chosen with the same randomness that Bill Cosby chooses his sweaters. The appliances are about 20 years old - i'd like to replace them all with stainless steel GE refrigerator, dishwasher, electric range (radiant glass, not coil) and microhood. I'd like to replace the cabinents, put some granite tops, and new tile floor and backsplash. Basically the entire kitchen will be transformed. The bathroom is ok, and i'd like to retile that also, and replace the cheap tiles that are in there now. The sink & toilet are something that can be replaced down the line. The tub is an older jacuzzi style, but not a jacuzzi as we think of them today. It looks about 20 years old.

The storage/closet situation is a bit tight. There's a closet in the bedroom, of a normal size and also a hallway closet, which is very long, but not terribly deep. My realtor showed me a cool site called ezclosets.com. You can build different closets on their website, and it maximizes the space you have. I'd have to make use of this or something like California Closets to make everything more useful.

But it is just some things i'm thinking about right now. I'm waiting to see what the owners think of my bid. I don't think my bid was low-balling, because of the work I need to put into the place. The paint job is a must. The kitchen is useable, but its just so old-school. At the very least i'd like to replace the appliances. I'd like to see what the costs would be involved to spruce up the kitchen & bathroom, second. I'd like to get things like that done before I move in, I have heard too many nightmare stories when people try to live in a home while it's getting renovations.

Now we wait. I have technically been waiting since Sunday. I put down a $1,000 "good faith" deposit and signed the paperwork at my asking price. If they counter, then if I decide to agree, it makes the process move much faster, because the realtor will just replace the top page of our contract with the new price.

I'm nervous and excited. Nervous that someone is going to swoop in and buy it from under me. I'd like to get what I asked for the condo, only because of the work that I need to put into it. The difference from their ask and my bid would cover the renovation costs that I have in mind.

Hopefully will know soon and will update here on the progress.

1 Comment

No word back yet? Not looking good....

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on February 26, 2007 12:53 AM.

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