Two winters ago when we bought our place upstate, not everyone got it. Either we were making an impulsive fantasy-purchase we’d soon regret, or we were sitting on a secret trust fund. Considering we looked at places for over a year, I don’t think our decision was impulsive. And a trust fund? Well that’s just funny (though if we did have a trust fund, it would have been better invested in a second home than the stock market).
The reality is, we could not afford to buy an apartment in New York. Let me amend that – we probably could have scraped together enough to buy a small one-bedroom somewere (not Harlem which we’re already priced out of) but we were living in a two-bedroom and itching for more space. Why would we spend more to have less?
Living in the country was a longtime dream of ours. We’d been visiting the Berkshires and Columbia County since we began dating, drawn by the good food, beautiful landscape, hiking, theater and music, skiing, antiquing, apple and berry picking – the list goes on. But our love alone could not finance a home – we had to crunch the numbers. And let me go Suze Orman on you and tell you that even before the financial meltdown, the numbers made sense. Our choice was either buy in the city and downgrade our standard of living (smaller apt, fewer weekends in the country, longer commute), or buy in the country and upgrade our standard of living (stay in our two-bedroom rental, regular weekends in the country, a place to raise children and host family, etc. etc.). Our decision was made: rent in the city, and buy in the country.
Fast forward a year and a few months. Now that the market has brought the country to its knees, it seems this crazy decision of ours had some legs. Click the photo to read more from yesterday’s New York Times (note: that is not a picture of us) .