As you probably know if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, I’d been searching for my dream home for a long time. I moved to New York City with big New York City dreams. One of my biggest dreams is to own an apartment here in downtown Manhattan. I’ve lived in my dream neighborhood, the West Village, for going on nine years now. The energy makes me feel alive. Owning a place here would be the ultimate dream turned reality.
Which is where reality comes in. The West Village is the most expensive, coveted neighborhood in New York. It’s extremely difficult to find an affordable apartment to rent here, much less one to own. Three kinds of people live in the West Village: 1. Vintage neighbors who’ve been here for decades, chilling in their rent-controlled gems. 2. People like me who pay way too much rent in exchange for living in the best location ever. 3. Celebs. Buying an apartment here with all of the features I want (light, views, and space) would be super expensive. Not that I let that stop me from searching. But after searching for so long, I learned that a West Village apartment would be about $150K more than a comparable apartment in a nearby neighborhood. So I expanded my search parameters to just outside my nabe.
Looking for an apartment is like looking for a boyfriend. Neither will have everything I want. But if my heart is happy, I’ll know it’s right. I kept this in mind as I searched nearby neighborhoods like Chelsea, Tribeca, Flatiron, and Gramercy. They’re all downtown and within walking distance of the West Village. Once I accepted how close those neighborhoods really were, I opened up the door to amazing possibilities. Like the views from this place on the 27th floor in Gramercy:
Seriously? Could that view be any sweeter? And I could actually afford to buy this apartment. The space was decent, but my home office would be a bit tight. The kitchen was small. It would need some major renovations. In my heart, I picture myself on a high floor enjoying a view just like this one. But I had to decide what was more important: a sweet view or a sweet home office. I decided what was in the apartment was more important than what was outside. Plus I could always go up to the roof for insane views if I found a place in another full-service building. But oh how those views were hard to leave behind:
There was an open house at another place in Gramercy this past Sunday. It wasn’t just any apartment. It was an apartment I was interested in several months ago. But when I called the broker back then, he told me it was in contract. How stoked was I when the listing came up again? Turns out that the potential buyer was rejected by the co-op board. I would have a chance at the apartment after all.
With each apartment I’ve rented, I have always felt the Knowing as soon as I walked in. Sometimes I’ve even felt it from outside the building, like with my current place. The Knowing is a strong sense of clarity. The Knowing is never wrong. It told me this was where I was meant to live every single time I’ve rented an apartment. No Knowing, no renting. I really thought I’d feel the Knowing again when I found the place I was meant to own. I didn’t really feel it at the open house, though. So I left assuming that the search would continue.
Then a strange thing happened.
I couldn’t stop thinking about the apartment. I was obsessing over it all Sunday night. You guys, it felt like I was falling in love. All I wanted to do was think about the apartment. All I wanted to do was talk about the apartment. The more I visualized how my built-in bookshelves and office space would look, the more in love I fell.
It was a whirlwind romance.
Yesterday I returned to the apartment with my broker and architect so I could talk about the
cute boy apartment some more. What my architect can do to the space is unreal. It already has the most important things I’m looking for: space, light, and views in a full-service building. The renovation we planned is going to transform the space into a gorgeous home. My look is minimalist with smooth, clean lines. My architect is totally on the same wavelength. Visualizing myself living and working there was easy.
So I made an offer. We negotiated. And…it looks like I’m buying this apartment! After searching for so long, it’s pure euphoria. Just like with the boy search. It’s a long process; there are lots of steps ahead. But my broker thinks everything will work out. I do, too. Because it is time for me to be a home owner!
I can’t wait to tell you more. Sharing this story makes my dream home feel more tangible. And of course I’ll post photos of my place when the renovations are complete. I cannot WAIT.
Here’s to even more dreaming big…