My Big Real Estate Decision: City Mouse or Country House?

I found this pic of an adorable house I viewed back in September, owned by hippies in Connecticut, and I thought, I should really write about my home search. Obviously it's a trending topic as there's less inventory than EVER right now during a thriving seller's market. But I see it as a comedy of sorts coming from the warped and spoiled experiences of a New Yorker. In case you didn't know, we ALL think New York City is the center of the world. ('Cause IT IS.)

Currently I'm still living in my New York City luxury rental in the Hudson Yards neighborhood of Manhattan, but a lot has happened since I viewed that home way back when last year. I'll try not to bore you, but instead enlighten you with the thought process of someone who's been in Manhattan for too long (is that a bad thing?).

But first, I'm curious. Where has the pandemic taken you? Did you leave or hold tight to a big city? Move to the ‘burbs? Take advantage of plummeting rents elsewhere or buy a house? Please tell me in the comments once you finish reading my diatribe.

I’ve found myself stuck between the formidable concrete jungle of Manhaatan and the mountains of mid-state New York. It’s a tough decision, but crucial as I enter this next phase of my life. And listen, it wasn’t just the pandemic pushing me into a home search, it was the realization that Bianca v 4.0 was about to drop (still in development btw).

I suddenly found myself drawn to the idea of an electric blue door. A quaint and inviting home where all my city friends can come visit me when they need a break from the bustle, and want clean air!

And heck, why not a pink door to match my purse? I am a damn fool for in-your-face color! But even more, I like the idea of something being fully mine. Customizing, designing, and updating a home that I own instead of being limited to confined apartment where I can't even fit all of my clothes into the closet. Yup, I'm one of those New Yorkers who has not 1 but 2 full storage spaces for my off-season wardrobe. Plus where else are you supposed to store your luggage in New York City? The basement???? Sure, you can rent from Manhattan Mini Storage for $60/month and call it the basement...the attic...whatever you like!

After nearly 20 years of apartment living in NYC, I'm FINALLY ready for the next big step of becoming a home owner. I want more space to be me and do the work I love. I'm convinced I can work better and more creatively with a proper studio space, editing room and nature as an outdoor backdrop.

My search has involved a lot of self exploration and roaming around the East Coast. At the beginning of the pandemic, I was open to moving just about anywhere! That hippy home I first viewed was 3 hours away from NYC, on the border of Rhode Island and Connecticut! I mean...earth to Bianca. 

But as I settled more into a state of sanity (weren't we all just a little bit crazy last year during the pandemic?) I decided, I'm a New Yorker and this is where I'll become a home owner. Period.

I also considered that buying a home outside of the city might come as a shock to me. While it sounds pleasant and all to live riverside or seaside (like this pic I took of an idyllic home on the coast in Massachusetts), can I really live without all the things that over the years have become part of my DNA and characterize me? I feel torn...

For example... Will there be an edgy nail salon nearby that can do my nails just the way I like them? Or a vegetarian cafe that makes a killer tumeric latte and orgasmic avocado arepas? How about stores? Galleries? Museums? Cultural spots and activities that teach me and my community to be more inclusive and open-minded to what's happening in the world. Cute streets to walk down with my dog? Old people to chat with about how the neighborhood has changed (but also how it hasn't). 

These are just a few things New Yorkers freak out about leaving behind. So...ultimately I made my mind up to be OPEN to shopping outside of New York City in midstate NY (within 45 min to 1-hour away) AS WELL AS within New York City. Yup, I'm searching both places. While I'm not thrilled about remaining an apartment dweller (because townhouses are way out of my budget), I have to consider my mental health! Part of going through this process of development is figuring out who the hell I am right now, at this minute, and what Bianca v 4.0 needs. I've figured out a lot in the past year, but there's still a ways to go.

I feel very lucky that I found a stellar real estate agent helping me look at homes outside the city as well as an agent guiding me through the search within it. I've gone on a lot of trips! From renting cars to drive upstate, exploring winding roads and the cutest towns where my new life could begin. To entering spaces in Manhattan and Brooklyn that I never existed. And learning about coop culture, and what it's like living in a huge building versus a smaller condo operated building in Brooklyn. Can you see me in Brooklyn?

The truth is, so far, I've only dabbled in making an offer. I didn't get the home. I've fallen in love with 1 house and haven't seen any apartments that I could actually see myself thriving in. But I'm not giving up. I'm on a journey, and sometimes with journeys you don't know where you're going to end up. All that matters is that you're on the search and it will take you somewhere more informed than where you stand now.

Are you in the throes of a similar shift? If so, I really do want to hear about it and connect. I've made a lot of friends here through my blog and various social channels, so please feel free to strike up a conversation! I'm all ears :)

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