December 21, 2005

Into the real estate bubble

Posted by Xun  |  No comments

I bought my first apartment late last year, in 2004. A one-bedroom condo in a five-story building.

The process was easy, considering the gravity of decision and the size of commitment to make. But hey, we are in a real estate boom, everyone buys a house, with or without money, or job, or good credit. The most convincing argument to me is that every time you pay mortgage you put money in your bank.

Sounds good. Time to own you own place.

For more than 10 years, I have been moving around at an average rate of once every year. For various reasons, money or convenience, or both. With a neglegible amount of belongings and a "whatever, I do not care" mind-set, it is easy to just pack up, leave everything behind and go.

In 2004 I had Emma.

In 2005, We really wanted and then decided to buy a place for our own.

The first step was to get a mortgage. We sent out copies of passports, visas, pay stubs, w-2, tax-return forms, bank statements... everything that could prove that we were legal and not entirely penniless.

The second step was to look. We were not looking for a dream surburbia place with a swimming pool, a front meadow and a back yard. That is for desperate housewives. Not even two-bedrooms. No. Affordable is the key.

We were not ambitious enough to try to bank on the future potential of our soon-to-be-ours property. It is tempting though when the on-site financiers calculated how your investment would grow in five years. Wow, they knew all the terms that were never before existed in my dictionary.

We wandered into a few open houses, playing cool. Since we did not know anything, we asked polite and banal questions, like how big is the apt., how much is the assessment? We made full use of the Internet, searching and receiving emails and emails of available possible properties in the nearby neighborhood. However, no power search was needed, since our criterias were simple and few.

Money, money or lack of money decides all. Even if it were money borrowed. But to us simple-minded fellows, money borrowed is money to be returned. We never could understand when people say money can labor itself and grow two or three-fold.

It did not take long. After a few viewing of spacious modern condos that were not quite in our affordable range, we jumped on a small yet Ok-looking and decent-priced place.

Then the rest happened in a whirlwind. We made an offer, did a quick bargaining, signed tons of paper who knows what, skipped the steps of decoration, remodeling, fixing, or whatever, we moved in.

Everyone says the real estate bubble is soon to burst. We jumped right in.

And now, I want a two-bedroom.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005
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