Monday, September 22, 2008

Penthouse Living

I spent Sunday afternoon visiting open houses with my mom. My parents are coming up on a big change in their lives: my dad's retiring, my sister graduates from college and embarks on her life as an individual in May--especially with the recent Wall Street tremors, my parents are doing a lot of thinking about how they want to spend the next phase of their lives. They're thinking seriously about selling their loft and downsizing, or selling their loft and moving upstate, or renovating their loft, or selling their loft and moving to Santa Fe or Maine or--you get the idea. Their lives are up in the air. They're in quite a good financial position, with substantial savings, a valuable apartment, and my dad's pension, but they don't have unlimited funds--still, they're putting their legal documents in order (including updating their wills) and working with a financial adviser to plan their future.

This involves a lot of house-hunting. My parents love house-hunting. My mother is one of a relatively small number of people who genuinely like renovating fixer-uppers, and she's got a great eye for interior design, and my father has the kind of vivid imagination that begins sketching a life around each new property, so they really get into it. This weekend, they've begun thinking about Brooklyn--my dad grew up in Brooklyn (Brighton Beach), and is reluctant to move back to that side of the river, but a walk around Park Slope proved persuasive. I can envision them living so happily in Park Slope or Prospect Heights--my dad sniffing around the Park Slope Food Co-Op for the ripest peaches, my mom visiting the big flea market on 7th, going to yoga classes & knitting group on Union, gardening on her roof. I want them to enjoy their time and their money; I want them to enjoy themselves and each other.

They really are looking to downsize, so I'm not sure why they decided to check out a penthouse on Eastern Parkway. Oh, wait, yes I am--it was the incredible view on the StreetEasy listing. My mom and dad made a list of places they were interested in, and my mom, K, and I went to see them yesterday. In person, the view was even better--mind-blowingly beautiful--the Manhattan skyline unfurled like your own personal backyard, a full vista of bridges and shining buildings--one missed the Trade Towers viscerally again, looking out there--and on the other side, Prospect Park rolled away like the world's biggest lawn. It was like being being on top of the Empire State Building, except...better, because you can see the whole Manhattan skyline.

The indoor space needs to be gutted, and the price tag is $995K just for the bones. As one might imagine, this is more than my parents were hoping to spend on their next home. Still, my mother insisted that my father would have to see it for himself. I doubt it's in the cards, but it was enormous fun for me to get to tour the place, and see that view, and all the while enjoy the vicarious thrill of hypothetically spending other people's money for them.

12 comments:

JR Moreau said...

Your parents sound like smart people who plan ahead.

I'm hoping to buy a cheap condo soon just so I have some equity so when this credit crisis settles I can have my head out of the sand and under a roof.

Sistah Ant said...

That does look like it would have been a fun thing to do!

Sallie's Niece said...

Wow cool. Could you live there with them? Or maybe they want to travel when they're retired and you can permanently housesit?

moufup said...

Have them wait a few months and the price will drop for sure (the housing market isn't supposed to hit bottom until early 2009)

I know it's not a million dollar house, but the new Motorola Krave is a sweet device that will give you the swank. Check out the site for more info at, Motorola.com/Krave

Anonymous said...

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her every cent counts said...

It must be exciting to have such options at that point in their lives.

I love spending other people's money as well. It's my favorite thing to do.

Hey I'm coming NY in a few weeks. Are there any frugal things I should check out?

MD said...

I agree with your parents thinking..

Being a young person who has invested in real estate, it is a very expensive and timely process. It defintely helps to have someone alongside you that knows what they are talking about

Coban84 said...

I love house hunting!
Hopefully I'll be able to buy my first apartment sometime soon!
I just finished reading this good book called "The Big Gamble" by Jose Abbo and Jose Roncal that explained what mistakes to avoid when making a big investment such as purchasing a property. Hope this helps!

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