Saturday, May 09, 2015

A Big Step

I finally bought a house!*


This was a long road. How many have I bid on and lost? There was the beautiful old Magnolia row house, Richie Havens' amazing house up in the Heights...both stunning and perfect, but unfortunately many other people seemed to agree with me. There was me chickening out on homes before that, the obvious great one being the $220k shack on my old block now on sale for $869k post-renovations, another being the murder-house two doors down from Havens', where a man had shot his girlfriend some years back. It finally went into foreclosure when he couldn't make the payments from jail. I'm not sure if it went up on the auction block or not in the end. I was keeping an eye on it for a long time until I gave up.

And there were the three I succeeded with, to a point. The leaking oil-tank house at 181 Beacon, which was amazing aside from the toxic soil. The fixer-upper on Pine Street, which I loved, but the bank didn't love it so much because it wouldn't appraise anywhere near what I perceive it to be worth. And finally, I got this house, a really good one on Lafayette Street.

The house I bought is great, but it has some drawbacks. Magnolia and Beacon were by the Journal Square PATH train, a tremendous benefit. Havens' house was by a trolley stop in Hoboken. And Pine Street by a trolley stop near Liberty State Park. That was the perfect confluence of bargain and accessibility, but no, I couldn't have it.

The Lafayette house is slightly less convenient, a half-mile walk to the trolley but only a half-block to the bus. Buses are easy enough but trains are more easily understood, easier to navigate, and not a problem when there's traffic. There aren't many restaurants at Lafayette, unlike the Journal Square homes I'd tried for.

But one thing Lafayette has going for it is it's a hop, skip, and a jump to the exploding gentrification of Grove Street, to the point where developers are all over the area. Two huge luxury condo projects are going on nearby, one in an old church and one in a former Catholic school. I'm fairly confident in the potential of a huge raise in value. But then, so were the previous owners, who bought at the height of the bubble and had to sell at a huge loss in the end. I can see that happening if there is a change in Manhattan's fortunes, which there is always that potential for a swinging pendulum to clock me up side the head, but probably not.

I first coveted this house in late 2005. It's the $420k one there, though the link doesn't work anymore. I'm not a fast mover when it comes to real estate, but in this case, that worked out as the final price was $285k now. I later started chasing it in August of 2013, from Mexico, when I saw an FSBO ad on Craigslist. I looked but balked at the price, which was much higher then.

My friend Roberta finally decided to buy it when it went up on Craigslist again recently, but when she tacked and started looking by JSQ, I went for it.


And now it's mine. Which is daunting as hell, but thrilling too. So, yeah, I have a house. Now what?



September 15, 1895

The New York Times from New York, New York · Page 14

Fine new cantellated brick cabinet 4-story and concrete cellar houses; all improvements; $80 to $35 per month; at Breadalbane Terrace, Lafayette St.; eleven minutes from Pa RR ferry, Jersey City.



*Just in time to have to move to Burbank for a while for work, but that's another story.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like it, and think you did good at that price. Now you've got a permanent base,and the appreciation potential does sound good. Can't wait to hear watsup Burbank. You got some weird karma. Don in AL

ps House of the Rising Sun?