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In Which Landlord Dreams Give Way to Condo Life

If reading The Hunt stokes your deepest hopes that someday everything in life could work out, then you, too, are obsessed with the New York Times Sunday Real Estate section. Join us as we venture into the depths of this weekend's installment.

Westchester/The Bronx isn't our typical turf, but where the Hunt goes, indeed we follow. MacKenzie Thompson had big dreams of becoming a landlord (hrm), but she decided to spend the money on a home with her fiance, Justin. The maintenance aspect of owning a home began to dawn on her. Then she realized that buying a home would pretty much leave her penniless and without a lot of freedom after a purchase. So, she decided on buying a condo. There was a bit of a frustrating search, but they found a place in Yonkers that was juuuust right. And that was our trip north. Questions?

“I never want to feel that if I don’t have a car, I can’t get anywhere,” she said. For her budget, $550,000 to $600,000, she envisioned a quaint Tudor. She found one with three bedrooms, listed for $579,000, in the Crestwood section of Yonkers. But she lost interest when she found out it had a shared driveway, as did her parents’ house. She knew all about the parking difficulties that might engender.

She found herself thinking about maintenance. Mr. Forsberg could fix almost anything, but “I was going to be pouring every cent I had into purchasing the house,” she said. That wouldn’t leave much for a new boiler or a new roof. Nor would she be able to fill a big house with furniture.

A condominium seemed a better bet. For a two-bedroom, her budget was around $400,000.

Ms. Thompson had often passed the Rivervue, near the Tuckahoe train station, and thought the apartments there must be beautiful. They were, with high ceilings and large windows. But a two-bedroom on a low floor was around $535,000, which she thought was too much.

The Tower Club was also near the Tuckahoe station. One of the complex’s two-bedrooms, with a fireplace, a washer-dryer, a pretty bay window and a grassy yard, was available for $409,000.

“I was trying to convince Justin to like it,” Ms. Thompson said. “We are coming from the Bronx, where it is very noisy. I thought the pros outweighed the cons. It was a commercial area, but Tuckahoe is not a big city. In the Bronx you hear noise 24/7. In Tuckahoe you hear just the train.”

The most she would offer was $385,000. Negotiations stalled.
“I was getting really fed up,” she said. “The negotiation wasn’t going as planned.” She bowed out.

Then she found the Riverview Club in Yonkers, which was undergoing a conversion from a rental to a condominium.

Ms. Thompson and Mr. Forsberg both loved two similar two-bedrooms on the top floor. One had a view of the Tappan Zee Bridge, and the other overlooked the George Washington Bridge.

The vista of the G. W. sealed the deal, Mr. Forsberg said. And he was relieved not to have upstairs neighbors.

Ms. Thompson paid $390,000 for the apartment, which came with two parking spaces.

An Aspiring Landlord's Change of Heart [NYT]