to buy or not to buy? we’re leaning towards ‘to buy’

fall in astoria

Our lease is up next year and as that time gets closer, I think, what’s next? The rent is likely going to increase (as it did last year) and at the price we would be paying, we tend to think buying is the next sensible step.

It’s pretty clear to us that we’re not leaving New York any time soon. We both grew up here. Bob’s family and friends are here. My family and friends are here. Our jobs are here. Not to mention that we both love this city. It’s our home and so we will stay. Worst case scenario, we’d move to northern New Jersey (?) which is thankfully still an easy commute to Manhattan.

But I don’t want to leave Astoria. Two years ago, we moved to this neighborhood and I immediately fell in love with its diversity, energy, culture, parks, proximity to Manhattan, abundance of restaurants and so so much more. Both of us saw a long-term commitment to this place. But from the property listings I’ve seen over the past few weeks, I’m not sure we’re able to afford Astoria. That thought crushes me more than you know.

I feel very torn. I want more time here, but buying our own place makes so much more sense. If we can’t find an affordable home in Astoria (or nearby), do we venture out deeper into Queens or Brooklyn where the prices are a little lower, but the commute is awful? For the record, I’m not a fan of the idea, but I’m not completely ruling it out either. Or do we look in northern New Jersey where we can get two-bedroom for the same price as a one-bedroom in New York? The commute wouldn’t be terrible, but we risk being in an area where a car is absolutely needed to get around and that’s another expense I can’t add.

For the time being, I’m keeping my options open and searching all areas for good deals. But who knows? We may end up renewing our lease or looking for another apartment in Astoria by the end of next year and maybe all this worrying now would have been for nothing. Or not.

So, real estate. Does it make your brain hurt too?

15 responses to “to buy or not to buy? we’re leaning towards ‘to buy’”

  1. rooth says:

    Yes! Everyone’s been pushing me to buy but I don’t know that I want to settle where I’m living now. For me, I kind of enjoy being a nomad and not having to worry about a house if I want to disappear for a few months. Not saying that I have but it’s nice to have the option!

    • Jillian says:

      Older members of our families have been advising us to buy for years! I take their opinions very seriously since I see them as much wiser when it comes to this kind of thing. But yes, I totally get where you’re coming from. It’s nice to not have such a big responsibility, in case you need to flee (for whatever reason, haha).

  2. You’ve basically just written a post for me. We’re saving to buy, and really, really want to stay in Astoria. The thought of leaving it kind of breaks our hearts, but yes–it is expensive. There are a lot of benefits to renting for a while (so much less overhead!), but I certainly am reminded of the benefits of buying (from family elders, like you) much more often.

  3. Lauren says:

    Oh so hard. I’ve been a homeowner for a long time now, and while there are definitely benefits, I think the benefits to renting are often understated. I kind of miss it, to be honest. It’s a tough spot you’re in, knowing where you want to be but not knowing if it’s within you’re reach. And patience is HARD. For me at least. 😉

    The Quakers have a saying/experience which I rely on far too often… it’s called “Way Opening.” It’s a bit more intentional than just the path unfolding before you. It’s about being patient and having a heart open about the possibilities before you and “the way will open.”

    A little zen for early in the day, but good luck to you!

    • Jillian says:

      Thank you Lauren! “Way Opening”. I love that. I’m definitely trying to have more patience. I think I’m a little antsy because I want to get in before the interest rates soar. I’m hoping it won’t budge for our sake. We shall see!

  4. Ashley says:

    I’ve skimmed through a few of your posts, and I’ve decided that I love your writing. :) You’ve got a way with words, girl. I totally feel ya when it comes to knowing where you want to live and not being able to. I moved to Dallas when I was 18 and just wasn’t able to afford it, so unfortunately I had to move back to lame Ohio, and I’ve missed Dallas ever since. I say, try to stay where you love, but you never know if you would love somewhere else just a little bit more.

    xo Ashley
    thetiniestfirecracker.com

    • Jillian says:

      Ashley, thank you! That means so much, you have no idea. So sorry you had to leave Dallas. I know what it’s like to move from an area you love. I’ve done it once before and sulked about it for 2 years (I’m slow to get over things, haha).

  5. Laura says:

    YES. Buying is such a big decision (we are in the process right now) and it is really stressful because unless you are a millionaire, you CAN’T have all you want. The location, amenities, and affordability – something’s gotta give. We rode the bus through Astoria last weekend on our way to the airport before we left the city, and I can see why you love it and don’t want to leave!

    That is really exciting that you guys could buy something – I would just assume it would never be an option in NYC. I sure hope you find something you like in a great neighborhood!

    • Jillian says:

      I saw your NY pics and they were gorgeous! I’m so glad you had a fun time. You’re so right about not getting everything you want. Something will be have to be sacrificed unfortunately. I’d gladly sacrifice a few things (e.g. a dishwasher) to be able to live in an area I love. Location is one thing that’s so important to me.

  6. ashley says:

    Look at New York looking all autumn-y!

    Buying would be a lot scarier for me because I like moving around…but that being said, you could always rent out your house! I don’t know…I’m not the best person to ask, but I think you should try to stay in astoria if you love it so much. You never know, a good deal can come along. Then again, what the hell do I know about this stuff?? NOTHING. 😛

    • Jillian says:

      Absolutely I will try to stay in Astoria! I’m crossing my fingers for a good deal. Or rather, I’m checking the web every day, every hour for a good deal, haha.

  7. Lena says:

    SF real estate makes my throat constrict and ties my stomach into knots!

  8. angela says:

    I used to live about 3.5 hrs away from my husband and came to see him on weekends. I rented an apartment and stayed in the job I loved when he was transferred here. I feel sad that I did not bought a small place there because now the apartment man has all that money I payed him for 5 years. So, if one can buy one should do so. Let us know what you decide. Wishing you the best!

  9. colleen says:

    yes, yes it does. particularly up here. brian and i shopped in the first half of this year and nothing really stuck. doesn’t look the pictures…price is too high…maintenance is too high…commute is too far. it’s very hard to find the sweet spot. but it’s still something we think about a lot and after the wedding are considering getting back into it. good luck with your search – my only advice is to wait for the right one! don’t compromise too much.

  10. colleen says:

    yes, yes it does. particularly up here. brian and i shopped in the first half of this year and nothing really stuck. doesn’t look the pictures…price is too high…maintenance is too high…commute is too far. it’s very hard to find the sweet spot. but it’s still something we think about a lot and after the wedding are considering getting back into it. good luck with your search – my only advice is to wait for the right one! don’t compromise too much.

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