How to Buy a Home of Your Own in NYC

Nordea of Nordea's Soaperie creates her yummy body products in that most elusive space: a home in New York City that she actually owns! Knowing that she splits her time between freelancing and owning a small business, I was curious about how she pulled it off. Herein are the details:

When did you decide you wanted to buy an apartment in NYC?

It was always on my mind...when I first moved to the city, my mom kept telling me I was throwing money out the window by paying rent. November 2001, after returning from a long vacation, I really started to save money and seriously look for a place.

How long between that decision and becoming a homeowner?

I moved into my new home May 2004.

What steps did you have to take to make your dream a reality?

I saved every spare dollar I had. I got advice from friends who were homeowners, and thought about what I wanted in my new home (space, sunlight, and closets!) I sat down and figured out how much I could afford to pay every month (mortgage + common charges) and was realistic when I started looking for a new home.

What was the hardest part about saving for a down payment?

No vacations, no shopping sprees, and no extra anything. I found creative ways to prepare Ramen Noodles.

How did you find the apartment you ended up buying?

NYC Dept. of Housing and Preservation (a lottery system) plus pure luck and patience.

What tips would you offer someone of modest means who wants to buy a home in NYC?

Save your money, and when the time comes, make a large down payment (as much as you can afford.) I had very little money left in the bank after closing, but if my mortgage payments were even slightly higher, I could easily be one of many Americans struggling to keep their home in today's economy.

When did you start your business?

Officially in 2006

How did owning your own place affect your business?

There is no way I could possibly make soap in my old apartment. I don't even know where I would be able to store the finished product. My old apartment had ONE closet. No storage at all. I now have a room dedicated to soaping, formulating, and packaging.

What's the best thing about owning your own place?

More living space and direct sunlight. I can actually grow some plants!

The worst?

These days, money is tight. I'm always worried that my toilet is going to explode....costing me thousands of dollars to repair.