Home Buying in Brooklyn>Question Details

Brie Lewis, Home Buyer in Brooklyn, NY

Should I buy a house or condo?

Asked by Brie Lewis, Brooklyn, NY Wed Sep 17, 2008

I'm a single parent of 4 young adults (ages 19, 20, 22 & 23) still living at home in Brooklyn, NY. I have no money down, but have met with Acorn Housing & I should qualify for two grants (totaling $13k) for my down payment & may have to opt for seller's concession for closing costs (if seller doesn't pay all of it). My yearly gross salary is $70k . I'm a bit nervous about buying a house because of repairs that may be needed through the years, yet I like the idea of having a driveway & yard. I liked a condo in Brooklyn, but unfortunately, the condo fees are almost as much as the mortgage. My money would spread further if I move out of NYC (I'm looking in NJ & north of NYC), but I work in Midtown and don't want a long commute. Any suggestions? Thanks.

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You have a lot of things to weigh. The first thing that looks obvious to me is that your kids will probably be moving out in the near future. Buying a home needs to be looked at as a long term decision, especially these days, if it's going to be a long term good investment. In a couple-3 years it could be just you or you +1. You don't need to go buying a 4 bedroom house at this time in your life.
Next, the commute. What's more important to you, the time& money for the commute, or the driveway/yard? Single family homes do require maintenance & repairs on a regular basis. Condos have less that needs to be done by you, but you're paying for it with your HOA fees.
Are you anywhere near retirement? Now is such a good time to buy, would it make any sense to buy out of the City and rent it out, saving it for you to move into after you retire?

Anne Petersen
Pacific Union RE
Sonoma, Ca
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 17, 2008
I answer this question all the time. That is to say, I reply to this question. No one can answer that question except you.

The best advice I can give is that you should buy a property on if you want to live there and if you can afford it. Then check your gut.

If it doesn't feel right, it won't work. If you feel happy and if it feels like a home ... it will probably work out.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 17, 2008
Brizjette - I don't have any answers for you (sorry), but I do have some more questions that may help you decide. How much longer are the young adults likely to be living with you? How much financial contribution will they provide in the near future? In later years? WIll they help with household maintenance (either actually doing the work or helping you pay for it)? Are any of you experienced at handling normal household repairs, or would you have to hire help? If you moved further out, would you be the only one commuting? How do total commute costs compare to in-town condo fees?

You can minimize your risk of buying a "lemon" of a house by having it inspected - your Realtor should make sure there is an inspection contingency in your offer. And there are homeowner insurance policies that cover the mechanicals for the first year - you could ask the seller to buy one for you, or do it yourself.

Congratulations on your looking into the financial picture before you make a commitment to buy - it's a wise move. And best of luck in your search for a new home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 17, 2008
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