Dept. of Small Fry Buying. New York City is not a typical real estate market, but if you spend your day toggling back and forth between here and Curbed, worrying if you'll ever be able to BUY an apartment and get out of rental purgatory, this is a good little book: Buying Solo - The Single Woman's Guide to Buying a First Home.
While aimed at women, we picked it up and read through it, and it has the effect you would really like it to have: it encourages you to invest in a home and gives you all the financial info you need to figure out how much you can afford (in our case, not much).
It has People Magazine style chapters such as "Can I Really Afford to Buy on My Own?" and "Is My Credit Good Enough?" and small case studies that really will get your blood pumping:
Courteney Cox, the famous Friends star, is on her seventh house and has made a second career out of buying, rehabbing, and selling property. Courteney revealed that when she bought her first house back in the late 1980's, she was flat broke. But, as she got more money and built up her home equity, she changed houses - in effect, upgrading.
When asked if the price tag [of her first house] made her nervous, Courteney replied, "It was something I thought I couldn't or shouldn't afford. First it was couldn't, and then it was shouldn't." [Then] she realized that real estate was a smart (and fun) place to devote her money and her energy.
Buy! Buy! Buy! Fun! Fun! Fun! MGR