29 Oct 2007 5 pm eastern

Into the murky deep

Tucked away in a quiet corner of The New York Public Library at 42nd Street sits a small, clean, neatly appointed classroom. At 3:30, we commandeered it for an impromptu meeting with an attorney.

For half an hour, the secret, quiet room was a lawyer’s office. In it, after discussing various ways the deal could end tragically, we signed five copies of a contract to purchase an apartment. I wrote the biggest check I have ever written in my life. And then, like bats startled by light, we flew off in different directions.

The attorney headed to his next meeting. The wife hopped a bus downtown to hand our documents to a secretary at the seller’s lawyer’s office. And I ran here.

We do not own a home yet. A lot could still go horribly wrong. But after two weeks of frantic paddling, we have dived cleanly into the murky deep.


[tags]homeownership, homebuying[/tags]

Filed under: family, glamorous, homeownership

28 Responses to “Into the murky deep”

  1. Keith said on

    Good luck Jeff, hope it goes alright for you.

  2. Jesse Gardner said on

    You certainly don’t make me want to endure the process anytime soon. Please be sure to leap for joy and sing hallelujahs if when you do finally get the house it’s worth all the hassle. Or else I may just buy a tent.

  3. Dain said on

    Good luck! And congrats, hope all well.

  4. Cameron said on

    Buying a house in NYC sounds like a royal PITA. I certainly don’t remember it being quite so painful when I bought my house in my little ol’ town and certainly don’t remember dealing with lawyers.

    Anyway, good luck to you.

  5. Mike Cherim said on

    Alas, the process has begun. Congratulations for the distance you have traveled thus far — and for the check you have written (I can just imagine). Good luck managing what lies ahead. It’ll be worth it in the end.

  6. Ryan Irelan said on

    May I suggest an Old Vine Zinfandel for the house warming party?

  7. Aaron Gustafson said on

    Welcome to the world of home ownershipp, Jeffrey. It’s scary, but satisfying at the same time ;-)

  8. cam thomas said on

    without sounding too much like a stalker… tell us about said apartment? general ‘hood… bedrooms?


  9. Lucian Teo said on

    Grats on the batcave Jeffrey. Wishing you many wonderful memories ahead.

  10. Damon Cool said on

    Home ownership is a neverending project. At least while renting you can blame stuff on the landlord.

    My question is how will you apply stylesheets and standards to your apartment?

    Good luck!!

  11. Dan Schulz said on

    Oh come on now Damon. You know he’ll have to figure out which media type to use before he even thinks about which stylesheet to apply to his soon to be humble abode.

    Jeff, congratulations on making it this far. Here’s to hoping that you get the keys and can actually move in and begin enjoying the fruits of home ownership. *cheers*

  12. Boston said on

    Congrats on home ownership! It has its own share of pains different from renting, but in the end is worth it (speaking from my own experiences in Boston.) As for not needing lawyers to buy a home, I can’t speak for a smaller town, but in a city like Boston or NYC it’s just a good idea to avoid getting screwed. Too much money involved.

  13. Dan Benjamin said on

    Welcome to the club! Having been on the selling side twice and the buying side three times, I certainly know how you feel.

    And believe it or not, this was the easy part.

  14. Lori said on

    Yay! I’m so excited for you — and so glad Homebuying for Dummies bumped its way out of the cabinet when it did. :-)

  15. Greg said on

    Ditto what Dan said. Pity about lawyers having to be involved. I’ve purchased two homes in Southern California and I don’t recall having to get a attorneys involved (maybe they were behind the giant curtain).

  16. Greg Bulmash said on

    Don’t know about NY, but here in WA, you don’t write that huge check (actually you hand over a cashier’s check) until escrow closes. You hand them the check and sign on the dotted line… you’re a homeowner.

    Actually, closing escrow takes about an hour or more and you end up with hand cramps from all the stuff you have to sign and initial. But in the end, you hold keys and documents in that twisted claw that say you own whatever part of that house the bank doesn’t.

  17. Oliver said on

    Hope all goes well. Buying a home is a neverending story. The signing of a contract is not the end, it is the beginning.

    BTW: Will there be any tables in your new home?

  18. Josh Stodola said on

    DOH!!! Oliver! I seriously was going to type that!!

    (“Will there be any tables in your new home?”)

    I hope I wont need lawyers when the time comes to get out of the renting game.

  19. Steve French said on

    Congrats! I just did that in Atlanta for the second time, where there were lawyers, at least at the closing. Get ready for a lot of trips to Home improvement stores to buy obscure tools.

  20. George Kaplan said on

    In all true successes there is always an element of risk. Just go do what you do best and let the wheels turn on their own. What’s the worst thing that can happen?

    Breathe in. Breathe out.

    Wax on. Wax off.

  21. Daniel said on

    I remember signing the papers for my apartment oh those many moons ago.

    Something that should have been a triumphant experience ended up being so non-plussed. I was buying my first home, in the most exciting city in the world, yet all I did was sit in a room of lawyers and write my name on a bunch of papers. (and yes, write the biggest check of my life)

    I think my favorite part was right afterwards when I got to call NYNEX (It was still NYNEX back then) to order a phone line – and I got to work with the person to pick a cool number.

    Congrats, Jeffrey, it’s just the beginning and you’ll be thrilled with the ride!

  22. Max Daniels said on

    Good for you! Whatever annoyances are involved, landlord-independence is something to be grateful for.

  23. ben said on

    Congratulations. Home ownership? What’s that? I need to visit the planet where they do that.

    On a totally unrelated subject, Joel Spolsky had a bunch of things to say about your crew:


  24. roe said on

    Oh, congrats — good luck to you! :) Now repeat after me: “Everything will be fine. Everything will be fine. Everything will be fiiinnneeee….”

  25. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    Ha, ha! Tables. Good one!

    Thanks, everyone, for the virtual hugs and advice. We just our fully executed contract back. Hooray! Time to take a breath, celebrate … and then dive back in for the next phase.

  26. John said on

    I wish you all the best of luck, its a crazy ride for a couple of weeks, but in the end, it is an awesome experience. Congrats.

  27. Peter Goddard said on
  28. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    @Peter, nice!

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