Thursday, April 29, 2010

Things you learn along the way

At some point I will get my head together and start properly describing the real-estate adventure. Basically there's two things I learned along the way:

1) buying real estate is insanely complicated and involves an epic ton of paperwork and logistics; and

2) like having a kid, this is a really complicated and responsibility-fraught thing that anyone who wants to can manage, no matter how ill-prepared they are for the task. David and I knew nothing going in, right down to the basics of "ok, we want to make an offer ... um, how do we actually do that? E-mail the seller's broker and say 'hey, we'd like Apartment X, how do you feel about [insert made-up number here]?' Fax? Call? Send carrier pigeon?"

And yet, roughly 90 days after deciding we wanted to buy an apartment, we got to move into our newly owned condo.

Saturday is May 1, when we'd typically write our rent check. But one of the Things Everyone Apparently Knows But I Didn't is that when you take on a mortgage, you don't make a payment the first month. Because unlike rent, which you pay in advance at the beginning of the month, mortgage is collected in arrears, after it's owed. So because we closed in April (and at closing prepaid the interest the loan would accumulate in April), our first payment is due in June, to pay off the debt we incurred in May.

Practical upshot: A month in which we owe no mortgage or rent payment. Hooray!

Reality check: Like any new homeowner, we had a ton of stuff we had to buy to make the place functional. Including a couch, 7 chairs, a deck table, a bench, lamps, a bedside table, and roughly a dozen boxes of cleaning supplies. Our Amex bill for the month was about what the mortgage would run. So much for spare cash.

But hey, we did what the government hoped we'd do with the first-time homebuyer credit -- economically stimulated every retailer within a half-mile blast radius.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I guess it's real now

Just as two of my friends are writing extolling the financial savvy of renting forever, we got our first "please to be sending the mortgage check on June 1, kthxbye*" [*'no really, please please send the check, we really need it'] letter from Bank of America.

So it's official ... we own now. Eeek/yay! I have economically stimulated half of Brooklyn's homewares shops, much to Amex's glee. We celebrated coughing up five figures at the closing table by immediately dropping almost as much again buying a couch, terrace table, chairs, groceries, and enough laundry detergent to last us eons, because I am celebrating having a washing machine for the first time in my adult life by doing approximately fourteen loads of laundry a day.

At some point the giddy euphoria will wear off and I will return to talking sensibly about finances. In fact, I'm gonna go take the edge off right now by wrapping up some day-job work and delving into corporate tax filings.

While listening to the background noise of my whirring washing machine.