By: Christopher Silliman
The word “affordability” and Long Island have a stigma of being non-existent in today’s world. Rents can easy soar above $2500 a month for a 1-bedroom apartment. Long Island’s Real Estate Taxes are notorious for being the highest in the nation. This often creates the illusion for most millennials, that they cannot set roots here on Long Island. What if I told you, YES, you can live and set roots here on Long Island, and you could purchase a home, for less than it costs for most people to rent. Think I am crazy right? Think again.
As a millennial, I pride myself in beating all odds, at 25 years old, I purchased my first home with my partner in North Babylon NY. A cute 3 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom cape- that needed some love and a decorative touch. It wasn’t our dream home, nor in our dream location. But it was a home that we OWNED. I had over $80,000 in student loan debt, an entry level salary, but made it my goal to never rent an apartment. My “situation” had all odds against me. High debt, low income, and at that stage in my life, we barely had any money to our name for a down payment or let alone closing costs. I got to work and began doing my research. Did you know that you could purchase a home with just 3.5% down, and roll your closing costs in? At that time, I had no clue. I originally thought I needed a 20% down payment that would take me a decade to save up for. We found the right real estate team, and with hard work we closed on our first home May 2016 with just $9,450 out of pocket total. That’s it. Just $9,450. We did the impossible and established our roots on Long Island when most of our friends and colleagues fled the area because they didn’t think it was possible. The best part is that my monthly payment was just $2000 a month for an entire house. This is less than what people pay for rent for the same size house in the same neighborhood.
Let’s fast forward 5 years. We sold the first home for a substantial profit in 2018. Enough to pay off a huge chunk of my student loan debt and place a small down payment on the next project. A near tear down split level, on 1/2 acre in the West Hills NY area. We were able to renovate this home into our dream home. In our dream location. No additional loans- just cash out of pocket, again for significantly less than what it would cost to rent a home of the same size, in the area. With a lot of hard work and doing as much of the renovations ourselves as possible, we were able to double our home’s value (literally) and have a very comfortable equity in the home.
Often times, first time homebuyers don’t see that there may be a couple of steps to purchasing your dream home. It can take some creativity, planning, and believe it or not- maybe a couple of homes/moves. After my first home purchase in 2016, I got inspired to get my real estate license, looking to focus in first time home buyers. My favorite part of this is explaining my story, and explaining to them- that yes, this is doable. “Often times your mortgage will be cheaper than rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in the same town.” that statement gets the gears turning. When these first-time home-buyers close, they can’t even believe it. 3.5% out of pocket, closing costs rolled into the loan, they did it. They purchased their home for most times just under $10,000 out of pocket.
I am here to tell you, you can do this and will establish your roots here on Long Island, if you put your mind to it.