Having resided in an 800 square foot Lower East Side Manhattan coop for 15 years, my ex-boyfriend G and I have at long last decided to sell, split the proceeds, and each get a place in one of the outer boroughs, since Manhattan would be out of the question based on what we'd each have left to work with after a 17 1/2 percent flip tax and broker's and attorney's fees.
After about two months on the market, we found a buyer who agreed to pay 450K--30K less than our asking price, but a fair deal nonetheless, especially since we'd purchased it for a whopping eight thousand dollars free and clear. Though our particular building only dated from the early sixties, the older buildings in the complex were originally designed, if memory serves, in the 1930s or '40s and were specifically tailor-made for working and middle class folks longing to own a little slice of the American dream pie via a spacious Manhattan apartment at a modest cost.
A few years after we bought in, the Board of Directors elected to go "private," and prices were soon brought up to market rate – steep, but still a bargain for Manhattan. This, by the way, is happening all over the borough - to the point where lower and middle class housing in Manhattan and even Brooklyn is rapidly becoming as extinct as the T-Rex.
We will close on the downtown place on March 1st. I’ve already picked out a new one-bedroom Bronx coop, and hope to close on that a day or two after. G is still looking around and experiencing a bit of frustration, since if he doesn't get a place within the next three weeks or so, he'll have to stay with his sister indefinitely,
Perhaps a little more backstory is in order here. After working in the same office for 15 years, G became ill and now receives a modest income from social security disability. Nevertheless, his credit score is decent enough and he could cover his expenses with some left over each month, if his monthly maintenance was 500 dollars or less. He's already received two pre-approvals from two mortgage brokers — the only hurdle would be to convince the coop board of the apartment he chose that he would never default on his maintenance payments.
G and his sister had met a month earlier with their financial adviser, who devised a plan to augment G's modest disability income. He would take out a 100K mortgage, and take 100K cash from the sales proceeds of our old place and dump it in a high yield (10 percent or more) Fidelity trust fund. His monthly mortgage would be paid from the trust automatically. This would leave him with ample funds to cover his monthly expenses with a few hundred left over. In emergencies, he could draw interest from the trust, which would count as additional income in any case.