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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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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.

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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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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?

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>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.

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

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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.

My attitude towards doormen shows just how un-New York I am; I love our current building and feel the doormen are top notch; unfailingly professional, polite and friendly with just the right blend of formality and familiarity. However, I would pay extra to have them go away; I hate being fawned over in any way and just feel most comfortable opening the door myself and carrying my own stuff.

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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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.

Truth - Doormen seem to come with other stuff we like, but I am meeting with Ali next week to present our ridiculous wishlist. I am pretty sure she is going to tell us we have a better chance of finding a flying unicorn to transport us between NY and DC on an as needed basis than finding what we are looking for in terms of NY residence.

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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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