Buying My First Home: The Good, The Bad & The Meltdowns (Come Along!)

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My hubby and I have been married for nearly 10 years, and we’ve never once owned our own place. Our current digs? An 800-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment in an up-and-coming industrial neighborhood in Queens. Super cool when it was just the two of us, but we added a kid to the mix two years ago–and what was once a stylish space now looks like a toy store vomited all over it.

A bigger problem than our ruined aesthetic? The three of us currently have to share one bedroom. That’s right–all three of us, in one bedroom, all night long. If you thought having your parents walk in on you was a turn-off, just imagine hearing a little voice call out Mommy? Mommy?! (when you swore he was sound asleep) just as things started to get hot ‘n’ heavy. Nightmare!

After years of hard work and saving our pennies we’re finally in a position to buy our own place in Brooklyn, our favorite borough. I’m positive this move will save our sanity, fill us with pride and quite possibly strengthen our marriage (Chris and I need our alone time!). We want a safe place with a great school nearby, fun restaurants and lots of kids for Mason to play with. Seems reasonable, right? Shouldn’t be so hard to find, right? Apparently not so much.

Our search, we’ve been warned, won’t be easy. The real estate market in New York City is brutally expensive and competitive. Two-bedroom apartments in certain parts of Brooklyn are selling for as much as  $1,000/square foot (and, occasionally even more)–and it’s becoming more and more common for a buyer to walk in and snap up the place (with cash!) on the spot. It’s definitely a seller’s market, but we’re determined to stay focused, optimistic and even have some fun!

blueberrymuffin
Starting today, I’ll be reporting on our weekly adventures as we hit the Sunday afternoon open houses in search of the perfect place. And that two-year-old I mentioned earlier? He’ll be with us every step of the way, and I’ll be plying him with mini-blueberry muffins (above) and goldfish crackers to keep him happy.

We toured four apartments today:

The first place on our list was down the street from a funeral home and just steps away from a cemetery–not exactly our dream location. But we untangled Mason from his car seat and headed inside (keeping an open mind!). It was a cute duplex with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a modern kitchen (all things on our list). But as I was helping Mason walk down the staircase in the unit–a treacherously steep, narrow thing–all I could do was imagine him taking a tumble the minute one of us looked the other way. How would I ever sleep again if I had to worry about that?

440x660Photo: Corcoran Group Real Estate

Next up was a fresh, new apartment in a fab location. I loved the current owner’s style (check out that cool headboard, above!). It was so “us” that I could picture Chris and I hosting fabulous parties and lounging around on weekends…back before we had Mason. Somehow I just couldn’t see piles of toddler toys fitting anywhere in this place. There was simply no room. Sadly, it was time to move on.

The third place was huge–but the lobby smelled like Chinese takeout mixed and armpit sweat and the actual apartment was old and dark. I was out of there before Chris could even park the car!

NEXT!!!!!

photoAs we rounded the corner to our final stop for the day, we noticed a mini mob on the street. A cool new brunch place? A Michelle Williams sighting? Nope–just a mass of people waiting to get in to see the apartment we were there to see (above), with a broker managing the masses bouncer-style. OMG. Mason was passed out in the back seat, but there was no way we could just leave! We had to see what all the fuss was about, so we took turns standing in line while the other one sat in the car with our tot. The place was great, and I could actually see us living there, but we’re not quite ready to commit so soon…

And so our apartment hunt continues!

Stay tuned for our next round of adventures…and reach out with your own! Are you searching for your own dream home? Share your story here!