3 New Yorkers Share Their First Homebuying Experience From Finding Their Homes to Sealing the Deal

A typical residential street in Jackson Heights, Queen (Jleon via Wikimedia Commons)

Buying a home for the first time is a major life event, right up there with getting married, having children, or driving your first car. Especially for longtime New Yorkers who have previously rented, it's a big step towards owning something that you can truly call your own while also building equity—why continue to rent monthly and get nothing out of it?

Of course, when it comes to buying a co-op or condo, the process is very daunting, from finding the right place and neighborhood; to determining the financing for the purchase; and -- especially in the case of a co-op -- getting the approval from board. It's a headache, but a worthwhile one once you get those keys in your hand.

The Cooperator spoke with three New Yorkers who made the jump into becoming first-time homebuyers. They spoke about their reasons on why they decided to buy instead of rent and feelings about the process.

Judy McGuire
Co-op owner
Jackson Heights, Queens

Judy McGuire, a writer, had lived in her rent-stabilized building in Brooklyn for two decades. But over time, things changed. “The developer who bought my building did not share my warm and cozy feelings, and began torturing us,” she recalls, “so we had to leave—albeit with a chunk of change to grease the wheels. Now that I had enough for a down payment, I wasn't going to waste my money on rent again.”

McGuire and her husband settled on the ethnically-diverse Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens. Through a friend, the couple came in contact with Jackson Heights reatlor Chris Georgakopoulos, now with Nu Realty. McGuire says that having a great agent made a huge difference. “We had no idea that knowing what kind of shape a building's financials were in was even an issue. Derp. We were like the clueless idiots on House Hunters, except with no delusions about a 'bonus room' or granite counter-tops. Chris helped us immensely—she even walked us to the co-op board interview.”

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