Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Hold breath, leap

Last time I posted, I was consumed with changing bank accounts. (I'm trying Schwab now, btw. Will report back soon on it.) Life is odd in how damn fast it changes.

We're trying to buy an apartment.

I kind of don't want to say much in case I jinx it, but if this works -- or if it irrevocably doesn't -- I'll post all the gritty details. The short version: The annual lease on our apartment runs out Feb. 28, and we'd planned to move. I **loathe** moving, but after five years here, I can't pretend any longer that two people, two cats and 2,000 books fit into a glorified studio with one (ONE!) closet.

I grumpily started scoping out rentals. I pretty much assumed that these days, if you can't put up 20% for a downpayment (and in NYC, that means six figures), you're toast. But one of my friends recently bought a house (in Baltimore) with an FHA loan. And I'd been hearing about various Brooklyn condos getting FHA approval. So I did a bit of poking around -- and found, much to my shock, that it has suddenly become a somewhat viable option.

You lock yourself out of most listings if you need to go the FHA route. I'm told getting approval for single family houses is very hard (many still exceed the loan-size caps, even though they've been raised), and you flat out can't do a co-op, which is what vast swathes of the NYC apartment market are.

But there's a half-dozen high profile Brooklyn condo projects that now have the fast-track FHA approval. And there's one I'm really drawn to. And we found a unit in it that is really, really intriguing for us. And I spoke with the building's preferred lender, and he gave us the green light for a loan with his bank. (5.5% interest! at worst! he thinks maybe less!)

So after two days of incessantly banging on my HP 12-C to work out all possible fees, contingencies, etc ... we're about to ready to put in a bid.

EEK. This feels like jumping off the high diving board.