Tag Archives: housing

Life Update

11 Nov

I haven’t been around too much lately. Things have been crazy with Hurricane Sandy, attempting to get a second job, working on another blog that will be read more than this one, etc.

HOUSING

We were approved by the co-op board and our closing date has come and gone. Hurricane Sandy really knocked us out for a punch and put a major delay in many of our plans. Of course, more fees must be paid and we have been paying quite a bit into this property already but once it’s over, we will have our own place, we will be making payments that are less than our current rent and we will hopefully enjoy our new surroundings. I’ll have to write about all of the unexpected expenses in terms of purchasing a co-op, which no one will care about because most people do not live in areas with them! I really hope that we can close before the end of the month but that is looking less and less promising.

GETTING A SECOND JOB

Unfortunately, I have really gotten no where with this. After my initial excitement and interviews, I haven’t heard anything. One place I interviewed at said that my schedule didn’t really work for them. Another place, after calling me, never called me back once I returned their call. I did have another interview last week but they seemed to, in actuality, want someone part-time. My husband was also having a difficult time with finding a second job so we started another blog about something he is very familiar with and it seems to be doing okay. We have only existed since October and we are getting over 100 views everyday already so hopefully we can continue on an upward trend.

My husband and I also talked about his goals. Although he really loves where he works, he has been there for over four years and there is no room for growth. Absolutely none. Over the years, he has received tiny raises and then small bonuses but after doing some research, he could be making quite a bit more money at the senior level. Once all of the housing stuff settles down, I think he is really going to think long and hard about what he wants to do and possibly look for another job.

SAVING MONEY & RETIREMENT

This area has been problematic for us and I think the fact that this housing stuff is never-ending is part of the problem.

We were in the position of saving nearly all of my paychecks every month until the co-op stuff started. Now, instead of putting them into the savings account, I have been putting them into our checking account because I have been writing checks non-stop. I haven’t even been able to keep track of anything anymore since they seem to have cashed some checks and not others. I also have not been able to do anything in terms of retirement because I feel stuck with this house stuff over my head.

 

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Why Purchasing a Co-op Isn’t For Everyone

23 Sep

I have been looking at real estate for the past year. I know my neighborhood, considering I have been living here my entire life, and I know what I like. I know more than anything I would like a house. But, my husband and I cannot afford that. We live in one of the most expensive cities in the world and purchasing a home right now is not an option. In fact, where we live, it may never be an option. This is something I have reluctantly come to terms with at this point in my life.

I have always read pieces, blogs, message boards—you name it, I’ve probably read it—written by people who tell you to never purchase a co-op. It kind of makes me chuckle, because they make it sound like you always have an option. My own father tells me I should buy a house when it’s obvious we cannot afford one. Theoretically, it may be better for you, since you can do what you want to your own home but it’s not always the most practical choice.

Right now my husband and I are in contract to purchase a co-op. And without reservation, I can honestly say I will never purchase a co-op again. I have now become a naysayer!

Why Did I Look At Co-ops In the First Place?

In certain parts of the States, I am sure you will find people who have never even heard of a co-op. The idea that you are not actually owning something and in fact, just own shares of a corporation, would probably completely bewilder people. The fact that you must abide by and answer to a group of people who decide how you should live (also known as the cooperative board) may seem outrageous to people.

For us, it’s just a fact of life. Co-ops are ubiquitous where we live. The buildings in my neighborhood (that look like apartment buildings, yes) are almost entirely co-ops—not condos. There is a certain precedent for this. And they will continue to exist primarily because this is a launching pad or a way of life for some people. Co-ops are the only thing that my husband and I could reasonably afford. In fact, the mortgage and the maintenance will be lower than our rent.

What Has Changed My Mind

I knew that I would be charged fees for everything—but I had to start keeping a log.

Sure, you have to pay the bank. Closing costs. Fees for this. Fees for that. My eyes glaze over just thinking about it.

And yes, you have to pay the lawyer. Good times.

And then, lest you forget, the management company. We have to pay them for the application ($400), we have to pay them for one other thing that I already forgot about ($250) and we have to pay them separately to fill out one page—ONE PAGE—$150. They give you a list (yes, a list) of things they want from you—as intrusive as a physical examination from a doctor—that paint your financial history. Tax returns. Pay stubs. W-2s. You need a million references. Not enough, you say? Well it’s a good thing you have to make seven copies of every document so the board can have enough copies to go around and know your entire life story.

Everything takes so long and everything is such a huge hurdle. After we submit everything, we need to also have an interview with a board, where they will decide whether or not we are worthy.

And really, this is more than a month away. After all is said and done, the board can reject us. That’s right—after paying the fees, after paying the lawyer, after putting 10% of the purchase price into escrow, the board can simply say no for whatever reason they feel like.

Only the Strong Survive

Purchasing a co-op is a very long, drawn-out process that is definitely not for everyone. I say that I would never do it again but I guess I would if I had no other option. But if I did have an option, I would never do it again. Sometimes I look at my husband and tell him I regret doing this. I’m not sure if I really regret it or if I am just complaining because things are getting so tough with the co-op. But I think I will be happy once all is said and done and we finally move into our new home.

Have you ever though twice about purchasing a property? Do co-ops exist in your area?