New Yorkers: Help me find a place to live! I need an actionable short term plan

13 Replies

Because I decided not to invest in the very same triplex I've been renting from for many years, I have to move out (long story).  

I can't focus on learning about REI while I have a deadline to move out of my place. I need to find a place to live so I can then focus on my REI education. Can fellow NYers help a guy out? I can only afford around $1,100 a month for a 1 bedroom. If it's a studio then it would have to be a nice studio. It would also have to be a low crime, decent neighborhood. Those types of places for for at least $1,500 a month in Brooklyn where I am now. Problem is I had been spoiled by only having to pay $1,000 for my unit. My family had a good thing going with the owner for many years till he decided to sell.

I am seeing units for around $1,100 in Staten Island in relatively nice neighborhoods on Trulia.com and other sites. I am considering a move there. Is house hacking or buying a duplex or triplex for multiple income streams a viable option for me with NY prices? How does an FHA loan potentially fit into the picture? How does that actually work by the way? I would have to apply first to see what I can afford? If so, what should I do on a multi-family? Come up with a business plan and apply for a conventional loan?

I have 30k in savings which I want to keep aside for contingency when I eventually start investing.  But perhaps I need to start now with a house hack so I can live someplace first using a 403k or other similar govt backed loans.  I need a very specific strategy and plan for my particular situation.  I wish I could consult with a NY Biggerpockets mentor type.

Any input appreciated.  Thanks

Are you thinking of continuing to rent or to buy a place?

If you're thinking of renting, north of Brooklyn, there is a magical place named Queens, with low crime, extensive public transit. You can probably get a one bedroom apartment in Woodside or Jackson Heights for way under $1500 and have express trains nearby. 

Though if you want to live on a budget, Staten Island is probably better as there are fewer distractions. You may need to have a car on staten island, however, which would suck 200-500 a month out of your pocket.

Just my 2 cents :)

-Oleg

@Conway Churaman

Some red flags:

I can't focus on learning about REI while I have a deadline to move out of my place. 

Why not? If that's how you feel, then don't try to.  What can you do?

I need to find a place to live so I can then focus on my REI education. 

Finding a place to live is separate from learning about REI. You follow this statement with asking for a strategy to do both things that you state you cannot do. So, what do you need?

I need a very specific strategy and plan for my particular situation. 

It would seem you need to find a place to live and then focus on your REI education. Two separate things. Which is the specific strategy you may consider given that you can't focus on REI with a deadline, as you state above.

I wish I could consult with a NY Biggerpockets mentor type.

If a BP Mentor met with you, would you tell them that you have a tight time frame to find a place to live and learn about REI? How do you think that message would be received? If someone came to you with tight deadlines and a seemingly stressful situation, would you stop what you were doing to make them a priority?

Your initial post was pretty dramatic.  Consider writing down all of your current needs. Evaluate them and prioritize them.  Once you've done that, focus on the one most immediately important task that by completing you can focus on the others.  Simplify this situation so you don't have to try to focus on two things at once.

I hope that helps.  

Originally posted by @Michael Roy :

@Conway Churaman

Some red flags:

I can't focus on learning about REI while I have a deadline to move out of my place. 

Why not? If that's how you feel, then don't try to.  What can you do?

I need to find a place to live so I can then focus on my REI education. 

Finding a place to live is separate from learning about REI. You follow this statement with asking for a strategy to do both things that you state you cannot do. So, what do you need?

I need a very specific strategy and plan for my particular situation. 

It would seem you need to find a place to live and then focus on your REI education. Two separate things. Which is the specific strategy you may consider given that you can't focus on REI with a deadline, as you state above.

I wish I could consult with a NY Biggerpockets mentor type.

If a BP Mentor met with you, would you tell them that you have a tight time frame to find a place to live and learn about REI? How do you think that message would be received? If someone came to you with tight deadlines and a seemingly stressful situation, would you stop what you were doing to make them a priority?

Your initial post was pretty dramatic.  Consider writing down all of your current needs. Evaluate them and prioritize them.  Once you've done that, focus on the one most immediately important task that by completing you can focus on the others.  Simplify this situation so you don't have to try to focus on two things at once.

I hope that helps.  

Does everyone agree? Is finding a place to live and a REI education two totally separate things? Could pursuing a possible house hacking solution be considered REI education? House hacking, as Brandon likes to describe it, does seem to be an easy introduction into the world of REI. Do I need to wait and rent somewhere and then purchase property or can it all be done in one shot?

I'm hoping I could get more input from local investors.  And yes, I am also now considering Queens.

@conway 

@Conway Churaman first I would determine your priorities. If cash flow is #1 then I would look in NJ which might be painful for you but there are opportunities to house hack there. Not too many available in NYC but it's possible there. I know a girl who got a 3 family in BK a couple years ago and is living rent free. Perhaps look in Queens too. 

Originally posted by @Joe Fairless :

@conway 

@Conway Churamanfirst I would determine your priorities. If cash flow is #1 then I would look in NJ which might be painful for you but there are opportunities to house hack there. Not too many available in NYC but it's possible there. I know a girl who got a 3 family in BK a couple years ago and is living rent free. Perhaps look in Queens too. 

 I have been considering NJ as well as Long Island and would be comfortable in both areas from my experience.  My current job though requires me to live within the 5 boroughs.  And while I am considering Queens, politically it might be awkward for me.....too silly to explain.  

Are you familiar with Brooklyn?  My zip code is 11234.  While my current place my landlord is trying to sell (an illegal triplex) is across the street from the Kings Plaza shopping mall, I don't necessarily think the area is an up and coming neighborhood.  The owner never kept up with maintenance and the third floor tenant is being evicted anyway for non payment of rent.  For a newbie such as myself, I decided trying to buy it wasn't the way to go.  I would be running into too many problems.  An experienced investor with capital might be able to renovate and attract higher quality of tenants.  Is the neighborhood still worth the effort? I'm not sure.  In the meantime the owner/landlord is getting rid of all the tenants in an effort to increase value in the minds of potential buyers.  He isn't even accepting rent from me anymore.  And since I don't think his property is worth the investment from me currently, I still have to find a place to live.

My ideal first investment would be a house hack in an up and coming neighborhood that is in demand.  Perhaps a foreclosure that needs a lot of work could be acquired using a govt loan but again, something in an in demand neighborhood.  I see myself speaking with local mentors as well as participating in partnerships.  

NY is a unique complex market and it may be just too hard for me to start off investing in.  I may end up quitting my job and moving.  Or perhaps I could indeed move to NJ or Long Island and asking for a residential exemption from the workplace.  

All responses you guys give become a part of my decision process.  

Thanks again all.

You are all over the place.  Join a real estate group or a Meet up Real estate group and talk to those groups.   

You say your family  Do you have a wife or children or are you single?  You are talking about a studio.

Pick a place you can live and start talking to Real Estate agents about your House Hacking plan.  Find an agent in Staten Island and one in Queens.  Study Zillow and Trulia in those areas and buy a place with a 3.5 FHA loan and your $30,000 either in Staten Island or Queens.  Solve both your housing problem and your entry into the real estate world in one blow.  You can get room mates to help you thru the first year of ownership

i recently bought my first piece if real estate and it is located in NYC! I used FHA loan with seller concession, so only put 3.5% down. Im house hacking a duplex, total of 5 bedrooms and 3 full bathrooms. I'd also like to offer my two cents and that is da Bronx! I've lived in the Bronx since 2008 and I think it's a great land of opportunity. Area code is 10456 where I bought my property. Market rent for a 2 bedroom is about $1500 where I am, just one train stop north of Yankee stadium. So I think it would be a good place to buy or rent if you're looking for something reasonable. Also, the Bronx has the metro north that runs through, the Harlem line and Hudson line. An awesome and convienent way to get into manhattan.

Why don't you rethink buying the triplex from your landlord  Why don't you run the numbers by this forum and see if there is any price you can work out with your current landlord.  You are willing to pay $1,500 for an apartment for yourself.  How much can the other 2 apartments rent for in the triplex that you currently occupy? 

 If the owner sells to you perhaps he can avoid the 6% real estate fee so that's a lot of money you can negotiate with. That's maybe $25,000?

You know what your landlord wants so knowledge is power. If each apartment can rent for $1,500  that's $4,500 income which means you probably can pay $450,000 for the triplex, .  How much is he asking and how much renovation will you have to do?
Run the numbers by BP.

Put in a bid that will give you  cash flow. 

 Get a 3.5 Mortgage on the property and  buy it.  Why move and disrupt your life?

Originally posted by @Barbara G. :

Why don't you rethink buying the triplex from your landlord  Why don't you run the numbers by this forum and see if there is any price you can work out with your current landlord.  You are willing to pay $1,500 for an apartment for yourself.  How much can the other 2 apartments rent for in the triplex that you currently occupy? 

 If the owner sells to you perhaps he can avoid the 6% real estate fee so that's a lot of money you can negotiate with. That's maybe $25,000?

You know what your landlord wants so knowledge is power. If each apartment can rent for $1,500  that's $4,500 income which means you probably can pay $450,000 for the triplex, .  How much is he asking and how much renovation will you have to do?
Run the numbers by BP.

Put in a bid that will give you  cash flow. 

 Get a 3.5 Mortgage on the property and  buy it.  Why move and disrupt your life?

 Market value, at least according to the NYC dept of finance, is around $434,000.  The owner is looking for $699,000 and he hasn't found a buyer yet at least not with an offer he's happy accepting. He's having his lawyers throw us out in an attempt to raise the property value.  

I will run the numbers this weekend and update this thread.  For it to work my brother would have to go because he wouldn't want to pay the rent increase.  As well, the third floor tenant would definitely have to go.  She is in the process of being removed in any case.   The number may have to be slightly higher than $1500 to cover utilities.  A 203k loan may need to be used to get the place into a condition to attract a better class of tenant.  I will work the numbers and update here.

Thanks.

Good thinking there

Look on Zillow and Trulia and see if tey have an estimated value for that house and an estimated rent for that house.  Also look at Rent o Mter aans see what the rents are around there

Keep us posted

What does the landlord pay?  He pays for water.   Does he pay for Heat? and he pays for electricity in the common areas.  Did you ask a contractor how much updating would cost?

It sounds like his price is too high to get an offer.  Certainly not with these rents. 

How old is the building and have there been any capital improvement to it?

Does he pay for garbage or does the city pay for that?  

At least you know who his lawyer is and that's a good thing.  I imagine he will have difficulty evicting you and your brother and that might be a really good bargining position for you to be in.   Try not to let him get too angry with you.  Just keep saying that you would like to do it but you can't.

What real estate offices is he listed with and what do his adds for the triplex advertise?  Do you know how long his contract is with the real estate agency?

Originally posted by @Barbara G. :

What does the landlord pay?  He pays for water.   Does he pay for Heat? and he pays for electricity in the common areas.  Did you ask a contractor how much updating would cost?

It sounds like his price is too high to get an offer.  Certainly not with these rents. 

How old is the building and have there been any capital improvement to it?

Does he pay for garbage or does the city pay for that?  

At least you know who his lawyer is and that's a good thing.  I imagine he will have difficulty evicting you and your brother and that might be a really good bargining position for you to be in.   Try not to let him get too angry with you.  Just keep saying that you would like to do it but you can't.

What real estate offices is he listed with and what do his adds for the triplex advertise?  Do you know how long his contract is with the real estate agency?

 It's hard to respond properly to this thread while I'm at work.  In the meantime, here is the trulia listing:  I live in the first floor which was converted from a garage over 25 years ago. http://www.trulia.com/property/3195168687-2005-E-55th-St-Brooklyn-NY-11234

Originally posted by @Rebecca Peters :

i recently bought my first piece if real estate and it is located in NYC! I used FHA loan with seller concession, so only put 3.5% down. Im house hacking a duplex, total of 5 bedrooms and 3 full bathrooms. I'd also like to offer my two cents and that is da Bronx! I've lived in the Bronx since 2008 and I think it's a great land of opportunity. Area code is 10456 where I bought my property. Market rent for a 2 bedroom is about $1500 where I am, just one train stop north of Yankee stadium. So I think it would be a good place to buy or rent if you're looking for something reasonable. Also, the Bronx has the metro north that runs through, the Harlem line and Hudson line. An awesome and convienent way to get into manhattan.

Basic question that has probably been asked a million times here....where should I go to apply for an FHA or 203k loan? How long does it take?

Also, where or who can I get an evaluation on my neighborhood's viability for investment?  Is it worth it to buy my triplex in my neighborhood?

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