Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Our New Old House

We have some Big News!  I have been very tempted to reveal this on the blog on multiple occasions previously, but I didn't want to jinx the process until the title and deed were in hand.

We have just bought a property in Brooklyn, New York.  It is an old brick townhouse, built in the early 1900s (we estimate it at 1910, but some property records show changes being made before that, so the house was likely in existence right around the turn of the century).  At some point when I have some time in New York, I hope to visit the Brooklyn historical society to dig through the archives and see what records or documents I can find about the property. 

The whole process has been an education, mostly in patience and stamina.  We found this property in the spring, and over the past six months have gone to open houses, taken pictures and videos, considered the pros and cons, submitted offers and counter-offers, hired a real estate attorney, worked with the seller's agent, reviewed and negotiated the sale and purchase contract, shopped with mortgage companies, worked with multiple lenders and responded to their follow up requests, and basically pulled out all of the stops to try to get to closing.  Almost all of the activity (phone calls, follow ups, discussions, reviews) had to take place during our early morning or late night, and I confess after months of this I am weary and so glad for it all to be over.

Looking back on it now, I can't believe what a journey it has been.  It often felt like every critical juncture of the transaction fell on the Friday before a big public holiday in the U.S. (Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day) leading to a not insignificant amount of anxiety.

We have been researching New York real estate for a while now, trying to find something within our budget that we like.  It sounds like such a simple stipulation on paper, but it's certainly not without its challenges.  Buying property when you live 12 hours' time difference and 8,000 miles away also adds a twist... !  We had previously submitted an offer on another place, which we lost out to an all-cash full price offer, and before that, we had reached out to many different developments all around Brooklyn, trying to find something that would work for us.

Needless to say, I am so grateful that we finally closed, and it turns out it was not a minute too soon, as our closing date fell on the very day that our interest rate expires.

Michael is there now working on the property, planning all kinds of home improvements. 

The house overall is in pretty good shape, but will still need some TLC.  The biggest areas for work are the backyard and the basement.  The yard is just a rampant field of wild weeds and overgrown vines, broken brick, cement and neglected junk, which all need to be wrestled into submission and trimmed into a neat stone patio, grassy patch, and wood deck.  The basement needs a washing machine and dryer.  The walls likely need a fresh slab of paint, and a few outlets need to be looked at by an electrician.

I hope to have pictures documenting both the before and after, as well as the renovation process, to upload to a new page on the blog soon.

**Update - please see this page for updates!  More details to follow.**

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