The Owner: How to Make $139,000 in 9 Months

The Owner: How to Make $139,000 in 9 Months

Maxwell Ryan
Jun 3, 2005

(Note: Tim will be working the summer theater circuit this summer and posting irregularly but not unquirkily. We suggested he write about what a New Yorker feels when displaced to hotel rooms across the USA. We shall see.)

Last fall, I spent $280,000 on the studio apartment I now sit in. I remember telling my mom that I had gotten a great deal on the apartment, which was probably the moment I became a true New Yorker: the ability to spend over a quarter of a million smackers on one room, and actually brag about it.

After recently putting in a $17,000 kitchen, curiosity got the best of me and I invited two real estate agents into my apartment for a "free market evaluation"; I wanted to know what my apartment might be worth now – and if I'd overpaid for my little kitchen.

The first agent arrived and immediately told me that if I chose to sell today, I could probably get $419,000.

How somebody arrives at the figure "$419,000", I have no idea, but it was music to my ears. It is hard for me to believe that in less than a year my 450 square-foot apartment could have appreciated by $139,000. He also felt that putting in a $17,000 kitchen probably added $40,000 to the property. Weird math, happy owner.

The second agent arrived and asked if I was a decorator. Obviously, he's a tasteful genius. He priced my apartment at a more modest $390,000, still a huge increase. In New York, he explained, it's best to underprice a bit, as people will fight over an apartment and outbid each other.

In the end, I am a proud owner who is staying put in a great little apartment, which I try to think of as a one-room luxury hotel suite; the bed is in sight of the oven. But even if I could sell my apartment and live like a king in my native Pittsburgh, I still eat the $2.75 special at Gray's Papaya three days a week. TF

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