9 Month Cure: The Money

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Why stay in a tiny apartment when you are having a baby? The answer is simple (for us).

Consider this:

• To move up, we'd need to move into a two bedroom apartment.

• Two bedroom apartments have been going for around $1m in Manhattan during the past year (we've been looking - but prices are falling, yay!).

• We had our heart broken once. A year ago we saw a dreamy raw space way east on 8th street and quickly made a bid on it. We were blown out of the water by bidding that went $150k higher than the asking price.

• Yes, we could move to upper Manhattan, Brooklyn or someplace further off, BUT even those places are not cheap anymore. Brooklyn is chic.• We feel it's important to be somewhat near our parents who live on the east side as we hope to see more of them during this next phase.

• We don't like moving. If we go way out on a limb financially, we want it to be for a place we really love. We are not movers. We tend to stay for a long time.

• And we're snobby. We would like a raw or fairly raw space that we can design into. Most of the apartments we've seen in the past year have been recently and expensively redone in a style that kills us.

• Finally, our current rent is very affordable. Once we move, we will never enjoy the low cost of living that we've had for the past 12 years.

• Double finally, we love our neighborhood and our building. We simply have not seen anywhere else we'd rather live.

So we're sitting tight for the time being. We're saving money and feeling rich, not poor. Not surprisingly, we are not alone. With high prices, many people are hunkering down and making due with what they've got.

Every time I've been unhappy with smallness of my apartment, I have looked elsewhere and then decided to push deeper into it, putting my money into interior change rather than moving. Every time it has paid off in spades. The apartment just seemed to grow and become a new home.

Now, as a couple we're going to really put this to the test. We're prepared to live with a baby in our small home for at least a year, and we're going to do one last major renovation that will put all our ideas into practice and allow us to fall in love with it all over again.

After that? We are betting on two things: 1. real estate prices will continue to fall and 2. that our finances will grow.

We'll be in a much better position to trade up next spring. In the meantime, we're having fun. Oh, and we're never going to give up our little apartment in the West Village. At the very least it will be an office and guest room for our in-laws when they come to town.

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The Home Cure

Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.

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