Latest posts by Larry Rothman (see all)
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Your dream apartment may be a Park Avenue penthouse with the latest appliances along with a newly renovated kitchen and bathroom. For many, this is out of reach, of course. Still, there are plenty of people, particularly first time home buyers, that have unrealistic expectations, causing them to miss out on great apartments.
We can assist you in avoiding this fate by helping you create a useful list to consider as you conduct your home search.
When examining your needs, try to anticipate what these will be down the road. For instance, if you are newly married and planning on children down the road, you should think about those requirements. Similarly, if you have an elderly parent and you think he or she might live with you, factor this in, too. Remember, you may plan to upgrade in a couple of years, but the real estate market may be vastly different and selling your unit may take more time than you anticipate.
- Location: Think about your living needs outside of the apartment. Do you want to be able to walk to work? Are shops nearby? Do you prefer to live close to transportation? Does a busy street bother you? Do you want to live in a neighborhood with many young families?
- Size of building. Do you want to live in a high-rise building? On the other hand, is townhouse living more your style? Perhaps brownstones charm you.
- Square footage of your unit: Can this accommodate your lifestyle? Do your furniture and other items fit?
- The number of bedrooms: This is a basic question to answer. Remember, a seller may claim it is a two bedroom apartment, but there are legal definitions based on minimum square footage, along with at least one window that opens to the street, yard, garden, or court on the same lot, and a heating/cooling element. There must also be two means to exit (windows count, along with doors).
- Number of bathrooms: If you are a family of five, think about the waiting time.
- Co-op or condo
This is where things get interesting and potentially complicated. You may only need 800 square feet to live comfortably, but you want 2,000 square feet to live very comfortably. Excluding these considerations, we compile a list of wants to consider.
- Door attendant: You may think this is indispensable, but we put this in the want category.
- Building amenities: If you like everything about the apartment, and it meets all of your needs, consider what you want in the building versus what you need. Going to the gym may be a part of your lifestyle, but you can go to a local place if the building does not have one.
- Apartment amenities: This includes flooring and windows. There are certain features, such as walk-in closets, a master suite, and an updated kitchen, that are not easy or inexpensive to put in place. Therefore, we advise prioritizing what you really want. You may want hardwood floors, but you can install these later, providing it is not against your house rules and it fits your budget.
- Appliances: If your unit has outdated appliances, remember you can purchase these down the line.
- Decorating style: Many people are intent on avoiding what they consider a poorly decorated apartment. However, many of these, such as painting and removing wallpaper, are quick, easy fixes.
- Living space: Consider how important the layout is to you.
When thinking about your housing needs and wants, it is helpful to write things down, even creating a checklist. You should not be able to live without the items on your needs list. After that, it is about prioritizing your wants. It is not easy to give up certain things you want, but your search may prove frustrating if you do not compromise