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first time buyer- need suggestions!

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Hi all,
We are first time buyers and quite confused between two properties. Please see details below. Any suggestions would be helpful! We like the east 70's apartment more but are afraid if we need to change due to size or any other concerns in few years and have to end up selling, might turn out to be really bad investment (considering its co-op, I am guessing sublet policy is not guaranteed)
Thanks so much!

1) East 70's:
Pros: bigger size, nicer school, flexible sublet policy (I guess not guranteed due to coop), more accessibility to restaurants and shopping
Cons: Coop (sublet policy might change), no doorman

2)Around 97 and west end
Pros: Condo, nicer bldg, doorman
Cons: Smaller apartment, less accessibility, school is not good

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A co-op is not necessarily a "con", any more than a fuji apple is a "con" over a macintosh. It's personal preference. Condo is easy to rent, but there's little or no vetting of purchasers. If a purchaser defaults on common charges, remaining unit owners are screwed. Co-op owners are protected from defaulters with first payback. And if you're in a condo with small children and your neighbor next door decides to rent to a frat house, your small child may not sleep so well. Nor you.

If you have kids, schooling should be a top priority, as opposed to ability to rent your apartmenmt out. You have kids. Look for a home, a school, a HOME.

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Thanks for all the responses! School is not priority for next 4-5 years as no kids yet.

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I would suggest the East 70s apartment if you feel confident you'll be living in Manhattan for the next 10 years. You will grow into the size and need the good schools. If you are there for 10 years the sublet policy won't matter as much because the market should appreciate over that time. If you feel you're going to raise your kids outside of Manhattan the smaller Condo can make sense as an investment property / 2nd home. I have yet to meet anyone who left Manhattan who did not miss it quite a bit.

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bay ridge is the fucking burbs?

i don't think so.

its right next to huntersburg.

With two school age kids, I would recommend being comfortable with the local schools or being comfortable with private school as an option. I see a lot of families who wish that 4 or 5 years ago they had offered more consideration to the local schools. Having said that, even though the zoned school for the WEA condo may not be great, there are a number of good magnet/lottery programs in District 3.

I agree with the advice of your looking for a HOME, not just an apartment, particularly with the expectation of children.

With kids, SIZE MATTERS. Trust me. Even 50 extra square feet. As does, of course, a good school. And again, if and when you have kids, you won't be as mobile, prone to living like a gypsy, hopping from apartment to apartment at whim. You're looking for a place to set down roots (at least for the forseeable future).

The only downside I see here is no doorman. That's a major minus. And don't listen to people who dismiss out of hand, saying simply "you don't need a doorman". Those people either don't live in New York City, are retired, or work out of their homes so they're home all day. Not having a doorman -- particularly if you've got a busy work schedule and work long hours -- is a particular pain in the ass when you can't have your laundry/dry cleaning dropped off ... must always be home for FreshDirect ... and every single package you ever have delivered ... every special FedEx document delivery, every Amazon.com and Zappos purchase ... and every eBay auction you win ... EVERY BLESSED TIME ... turns into a fight with FedEx/UPS/USPS over re-delivering, or you hauling ass to the post office/UPS/FedEx regional distribution center on your days off to fetch your packages.

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determine best school options for your children, within a reasonable commute to your work. buy only in the neighborhood where those options exist. rent wherebver you'd like in the meantime.

re children the "home" is their school. the place where you live may change from time to time. a good school shouldn't be changed unless absolutely necessary.

do your best to arrange that your kids go to a great school and thrive there--and if you achieve that, and it aint broke, dont mess with it

real estate is relatively unimportant--but for the fact that it is nice if you can artrange that your kids can walk a short distance to siad schoiol

I agree with Matt that not having a doorman is a real minus. It will also affect resale when the time comes.

I imagine I am in the minority here, but I'd caution not to plan for kids you may or may not have sometime down the line. We expected to have children and the universe decided otherwise. We may yet, but I'm not counting on it, based on past experience. If we'd purchased solely based on school districts we would have missed other, more suitable opportunities.

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you may plan kids and not have them, but if you do and you need to sell, to move to a neighborhood with a good school, you will definitely get hammered on transaction costs

if you buy, buy with consideration of the likely success you will have having kids, in the best school district that works for you--school should trump all in your choice

otherwise rent until you know whether your garden grows or not

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LOL, Truth! They sound great. You're a lucky gal!

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In Manhattan in the last 40 years I've lived in 24-hour doormen buildings, 4pm-midnight doorman buildings, and buildings without doormen.

Personally I prefer living without doormen, as do many people I know.

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AR, you had a doorman in *Tokyo*? I don't think even 1% of the residences in Tokyo have doormen. What was the story with that building?

I'm having a hard time figuring out the lifestyles of these people who actually prefer no doormen. How the hell do you get stuff delivered?

>How the hell do you get stuff delivered?

The mailman, UPS guy, and FedEx folks all seem to know without my ever telling them that if I'm not home they can leave my things with someone else in the building, come back the next day. I know my neighbors sometimes have deliveries left at one of the shops on the block, with a note saying where they've left a package, but I've never done that. More often packages are left for me in the lobby -- they have a key to get to the mailboxes and the same key gets them further inside.

Sometimes I have packages delivered to my office.

And I wouldn't be caught dead ordering anything from Fresh Direct.

It's a trade-off, like everything else.

It's convenient to have a doorman, and to carry around one key instead of two or three.

On the other hand, last time I calculated, $500 of my maintenance was going to pay the six extra guys. (We have eight in a building with 80-odd apartments, and would otherwise need only two.)

Carrying around two keys instead of one is really a burden?

A burden is a mortgage for an overvalued overpaid bubble asset with zero upside potential and a huge cash drain on family finances.

Carrying two keys. Not so much.

"The mailman, UPS guy, and FedEx folks all seem to know without my ever telling them that if I'm not home they can leave my things with someone else in the building"

Don't other people in your building work for a living?

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"come back the next day"

Conveniently at precisely the same time the day before when I wasn't home. Hint: If I'm not home at 3:38 pm on a Tuesday, I'm probably not going to be there at 3:38 pm on a Wednesday. Or Thursday. Or Friday. Here's an idea! How about try me on the WEEKEND??

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"More often packages are left for me in the lobby"

You have unusually trustworthy neighbors (and visitors to your building).

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"Sometimes I have packages delivered to my office."

Not an option for those of us who work for giant media organizations, post-2001 anthrax scare, where everything is routed (and opened up) in the central mailroom.

> Carrying around two keys instead of one is really a burden?

No, an inconvenience, as I said. Not $500 worth, but an inconvenience. It'd really be three or four: front door, mailbox, and maybe two for the apartment door.

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Matt, yes, often someone's home in one of the apartments my building, and if not it doesn't matter.

My building is surprisingly safe and my neighbors friendly in the three years I've been here. I've never had trouble receiving a package.

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NYCNovice, I'm a born-and-raised New Yorker, grew up in three buildings with doormen (um, not all at once), and I agree entirely with you.

One of the many great things about this town is that people have such different opinions about ... everything....

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lets be clear.

everyone on a co-op board is a crook taking bribes and kickbacks

managing agents are useless crooks also

doorman are paid spies for both parties above.

ah, the internet.

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Regarding packages, do any of you have buildings where there are large-size lockers (with settable 4-digit combinations) where the post office or UPS or whoever can leave items, along with a note in your own postbox telling you that you've got a package in the locker, and what the combination is? My building (very far from NYC) has this ans it's a great system. We never, ever have to be disturbed when the mail comes.

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"The vast majority of Americans somehow exist without doorman."

The vast majority of Americans live in HOUSES, where packages can be left relatively safe on front/back porches.

The vast majority of Americans also have CARS, which makes picking up laundry and missed packages a mere tick-off on the to-do list of errands to run on the way home, rather than an hour-long project like it is for non-car'd people in NYC.

And the vast majority of Americans also have their own washers and dryers, and have no need of coordinating laundry pick-up and drop-off.

"My building is surprisingly safe and my neighbors friendly in the three years I've been here. I've never had trouble receiving a package."

Boss, you realize you're in a very rarified minority in this respect, right?

"Regarding packages, do any of you have buildings where there are large-size lockers (with settable 4-digit combinations) where the post office or UPS or whoever can leave items, along with a note in your own postbox telling you that you've got a package in the locker, and what the combination is? My building (very far from NYC) has this ans it's a great system. We never, ever have to be disturbed when the mail comes."

NYC real estate is extremely precious, and retrofitting such a system as this for most buildings, if not totally impossible space- and logistics-wise, prohibitively expensive.

Matt, every one of us posting here is in some version of a very rarified minority.

So what? We're all just offering opinions and experiences. You seem really annoyed when other people don't have the same taste as you.

I'm in a rarified minority because my building is safe and my neighbors nice; you think living without a doorman is unthinkable; I'm saying it's not only thinkable but also, for some of us, preferable. Not sure why that seems to bother you so much that you'd be so insistently dismissive.

I also find it much easier and quicker and more pleasant to do errands as a carless person in NYC than I did in LA with a car. I like stopping by the bodega to get milk on the way home from the subway. Yes, even when it's raining.

@Matt - These boxes really don't take up much space at all, and it couldn't cost more than a few thousand dollars to put them in. Here they are on the right in this picture:

http://tyuko-mansion.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/r0043673.jpg

Anything that can't fit in the regular postboxes goes in the big boxes, and the delivery person writes the passcode on a delivery slip and puts that in your postbox.

And if the package is so huge that it doesn't even fit in the biggest box, the slip of paper tells you to go down to the post office and get it. It works like a charm and of course it's a lot cheaper than having a doorman. And the boxes don't even demand tips at Christmas time!

No doorman but have a great live in super. No problem with any type of delivery or package. I definitely prefer not having a doorman over having one. Having an excellent live in super is by far the best IMO.

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