Cash Ruled Everything Around My House. Dollar Dollar Bills Y'all.
I recently purchased my condo in Brooklyn and although it sounds like I might have done it out of the clear blue sky; this has been in the works for the past two and a half years. The rental situation in NYC is a crisis; you wouldn't believe it with all the new construction going up but all those buildings are out of reach for a lot of New Yorkers. I say New Yorkers specifically, because it seems that those who were born and raised in NYC cannot find suitable housing without having to live with roommates or paying 60% of your annual income (the suggested percentage to live within your means is 30%). I was priced out of my last apartment in The Bronx, within a year of signing my lease. Landlords are hiking up prices because they know they can get it from people who come to NY with the dream of making it in the big city and paying out the nose for an address.
So back to my mama's house I went. And how I cried....
I put all my belongings into storage and had to move back into my childhood room. It was such a blow. I had moved 3 times within 3 years, I was tired and hurt. I loved having my own space; it's a refuge where I can recharge. I love my mother, I do, but I know you can understand me when I say, it's not the most ideal situation to be living at home in close quarters with a Dominican mother who still thinks you are 12. It's just not. So, I took this L and decided it would be the last increase in rent that would drive me out of my apartment.
I know you might be thinking,"Wait Frances, going back home is the best, you don't have to pay rent, free food, laundry gets done, you good!" To a certain degree. Yes, my mom cooked and refused to take my money (a GODSEND, I tell you) because she knew I needed to start saving to get this apartment. However, I didn't let myself live anywhere for free; I made a budget for myself with the criteria that I would be paying rent every month. So I saved money as if I had to pay rent every month and my rent money went straight into another account. I made myself pay an exuberant rent: $2,400/ month. Whatever was going on, I made sure I had that $2,400 in that account.
I'm not going to lie, it was HARD. Feeling perpetually broke when you're technically not can be quite taxing.
But I had to keep it very real with myself, if I wanted to live the way I wanted, I had to sacrifice. Having a great support system helped as well. My friends knew what was on the line; I was very honest with them. I had to cut back on brunches and movies and birthdays and happy hours and everything. No one ever complained or questioned me. They never tried to guilt me into doing things I simply couldn't. That made it so much easier. We all want to be there for our friends and feel terrible when we can't join something. Not having them rub it in my face made me feel better.
The hardest thing to cut back on was travel. All I want to do is travel but I cut all trips out. NYC was going to have to provide all the adventure for me. But I won't lie to you, I did splurge on a birthday trip to Italy with the bestie because you still gotta live life! But I remember taking calls from my lawyer while getting ready for dinner in Italy and thinking, "yes, this is how we get shit done!; take these calls on wifi and walk everywhere. FYI Italy on a budget is just as fun!
I want to reiterate it was not easy! I had to work overtime, pick up extra gigs, gather all my loose change, cash them in and put them into savings. I was splitting meals, eating cereal for lunch, no clothes or shoes were bought. I had to stack this paper and it was stressful af! However, when I got the call that they were ready with a closing and final walk through date it was all worth it. Signing all my money over hurt, like A LOT but I knew this investment was worth every penny. I can't exactly describe the feelings I had when I closed, I was excited, scared, relieved, tired, accomplished. I had clearly manifested the shit out of this. I put my mind to it and had tunnel vision but without the help of my network, I won't say it wouldn't have happened but it would have definitely taken longer. Having people believe in you and wanting you to succeed is such a help; and it can be little things like not throwing a tantrum when I can't come to your party. Those things mattered to me!
I think it's perpetuated that you need to be wealthy to own property. I am far from wealthy and was able to do it. Do your research, fix your credit if you need to. Nowadays, credit is king. If it's not the best, clean it up and if it's good, make it great. Doors open with a good credit score. Build a relationship with your bank. ASK QUESTIONS! Pick the brain of a homeowner you might know. I asked coworkers, supervisors, friends, everybody. Don't be afraid of asking dumb questions.
I didn't know what I didn't know!
But how else will you get the information if you don't seek it. Listen, if I could do this, anyone can. It's all about a hope a dream and tighten up the purse strings.
Let's get property ya'll!