turbobilly saidGawd...ever the real estate whore...
Always and forever! What made me this way? Well, I
could have been the octogenarian sitting pretty in his
$4 Million dollar prewar penthouse condo which I could've gotten for $300K, with my
retirement and long term care assured and my biggest problem being how to make straight friends in my 5 star eldercare facility - if my parents were willing to help. The OP pointed out that RJ'ers with children were very lucky to have them to help in their dotage, and he's more right than he knows in my case because my sister's kids got her help for a house from our parents whereas my lack of them kept me a renter.
Around 25 years ago my straight sister (then-married and pregnant, perceived as sensible and thrifty) and I (newly out, single and gay and commensurately perceived as a flighty spendthrift, which I wasn't, but Exhibit A - I'd moved to NYC) both needed downpayments. She got it from our parents for a Tampa house that was about the same price as the Manhattan condo I
wanted. She got her downpayment. I didn't. Her house appreciated and then depreciated so that today it's a whopping 125% of what she paid. The apartment I would've gotten today alone
would be worth in excess of 800%,
and who knows how much more in another 35 years:
The apartment was a fantastic investment since it was that rarest of birds in Manhattan, a prewar doorman condo.
It was in the Ansonia on West 73rd and Broadway, the exterior and lobby of which is depicted as haunted in the TV show "666 Park Avenue." The film "Single White Female" used not only the actual exterior and lobby but the Ansonia's apartment interiors, hallways and laundry room:
The Ansonia's amazing history includes residents as disparate as Babe Ruth and opera singer Enrico Caruso, a working rooftop farm and barnyard designed to make it self-sustaining, a basement pool which hosted the most infamous gay and
straight sex clubs of all time (the gay "Continental Baths" where Bette Midler often performed with her piano accompanist Barry Manilow, and the straight "Plato's Retreat"), and baronial apartments you too could've had for a song.
When I tried to buy it felt more haunted than "666 Park Avenue" because it was largely vacant since the apartments were being warehoused (kept empty once renters left or were bought out) as part of a planned condo conversion. The real life demonic building owner used the huge empty apartments to house his overgrown potted ficus trees - a waste of prime Manhattan real estate more frightening than anything any "666 Park Avenue" writer could conjure up.
The beaux arts hallways and apartment interiors which actually reflect the facade are way, way more architecturally interesting than the bland prewar interior sets used for the show. The southeast tower corner penthouse unit featured as Terry O' Quinn and Vanessa Williams' apartment was actually an enormous, gutted lofty one bedroom apartment with an elliptical foyer with mirrored, concave french doors, a football field sized living room, eat-in kitchen and round bedroom with a leaky ceiling under the tower cupola (alas, no terrace). It's the unit I highlit in the first photo and could have been yours at the then-stabilized absurdly low rent of about $300 per month with the proviso that you purchased the unit upon conversion for around $300K - a real win-win situation since you'd get to keep the prime lease at the low rental if the building failed to convert.
Even then I knew better than to enlist the help of my parents for that
apartment, so I approached them for the downpayment for a then-$150K sponsor-renovated small one-bedroom unit with an oval living room and fireplace, which looked similar to this Ansonia apartment, albeit smaller and not as well renovated:
Carrying the unit in my twenties would've been easy because I would've rented the bedroom out and slept on a sofa bed in the living room. But they refused since they didn't consider New York real estate, even that,
a good investment, plus ensuring a secure roof over my head and my financial future was immaterial - though again at the time because my sister was about to spit out her first kid they gave her
the downpayment on her $150K house in a Tampa suburb, which today over 20 years later is worth...$199K. I'm not sure what typical Ansonia one-bedrooms go for today, but the two-bedrooms start at about $2 Million,
suggesting that any unit I'd have purchased would've increased eightfold.
As for that huge one-bedroom tower penthouse? It's probably worth at least $3M today.
So my straight sister got the downpayment and the gay
brother got nada.
In my case, in retrospect, had I not been out at the time I'd have gladly compromised my principals and stayed closeted given the way Manhattan real estate escalated over the next ten years. Now the minimal requirement of a 20% downpayment and liquid assets at least 2-3x the price of that (and almost any) given apartment, there were and remain to this day very few professionals that could afford to own Manhattan apartments without parental intervention, and even fewer will be able to afford as nice a place to end their days as Messrs. Cott and Leedom, god bless 'em. Btw, one of my old landlords is now in his mid-eighties. He and his then-partner bought and rehabbed their Upper West Side brownstone for $35K with inherited wealth the year I was born. Within several years he's had a new partner, 15 years younger, and they've now been together about 25 years. Ten years ago they sold their brownstone and Pines house, retiring to Arizona to a fancy new gay retirement community with weekly cabaret drag shows and high teas where making new friends and worries about being separated by their respective families when one becomes too infirm presumably aren't problems.
Relatedly, in another thread see how two younger gay friends of mine fared over the course of just 12 years after getting a downpayment from a parent here: http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/2870542#139961_2870557_name