Sunday, July 13, 2008

Can this middle class family find a home in Little Neck?

Hello, fans and friends of The Unpolitician! I'm Carrie, wife of The Unpolitician himself! Periodically, I'll be posting about issues that matter to me, and to other young parents in our district. The first issue I'd like to discuss is our search for a new home.

2 years ago, we moved into Deepdale Gardens. It is a lovely community of relatively small garden apartments, and we have had a nice time here. But, with the birth of our second daughter, combined with my husband's love for saving and collecting everything, we feel that we're ready to take the next step and get some more space--our own HOUSE!!!

First-- a little background for you. Most of my friends from Queens all got married, grew up, and high-tailed it to Long Island-- in search of green grass and great school districts. Dave and I always laughed at them--- there is green in Queens, and you cannot beat some of the schools! Plus, you have the high Long Island taxes, and a lack of diversity that we always wanted to avoid. We knew that Little Neck was where we would end up. We knew that we wanted our girls to go to PS 221. And, so, in that sense, on my search for homes, I am limited within not just our own political district, but our school district.

Growing up on the sixth floor of an apartment building in urban Briarwood, NY, I am equally excited and nervous about my own home. My Deepdale garden apartment was a great first step. I have lots of ideas about what I want my home to look should be a pretty, relatively small, tudor. That's what feels like home to me. Of course, I'm not REALLY picky-- just a nice place in good shape with a lawn, at least three bedrooms, and a basement.

And so, I began the search. I was surprised to see that ranch homes that CLEARLY were in horrible shape were selling in the 700K range. With these homes being relatively untouchable, considering the amount of work we would have to put into it (and we are NOT handy), I started visiting the dozens of Open Houses in the area. Here are some pictures of what I saw:

As I look at these "McMansions", I am completely fascinated. First of all, my pretty little Tudors look so strange when sandwiched between two giant pink brick homes. Second, I am not sure how any middle class family can afford to buy a home in Little Neck....If I buy the 700-800K tudor, I could probably make it work financially (although it would really be a stretch)...but then I would have to put money into the house, and how could I possibly do that? If I bought one of these 1.3 MILLION dollar homes, I would be extending myself beyond a reasonable realm, AND I would be contributing to the crushing of my pretty tudors.

Anyway, as a homeowner, this is very troubling. Who is buying these homes? I know the developers buy the 700K fixer uppers, and then tear them down. But who is buying the McMansions? I see so many of them for sale.

As the wife of a political candidate, do my feelings change? I know it's the democratic way fight for downzoning, and to fight the proliferation of McMansions. I think, prior to the actual hunt, I really disagreed with this. If people make money, let them build homes, I thought to myself. However, now that I am in the position to buy, I agree with my husband's stance on this issue. I make a six figure salary, I work is it possible that I cannot buy a nice, midsize home in Little Neck?

My friends are all buying their homes in Nassau and Suffolk. They pay 500K for a starter home. They have higher taxes. When they walk down the street, they see people who all look the same. It's a different world in Long Island....and I want to stay here, where my kids will learn about different cultures, and experience being a positive product of the NYC public school system. Tell me how I can do it. Any ideas?

1 comment:

davekerpen said...

This middle class family will find and buy a nice home in Little Neck, and continue to fight for all residents of Queens to have great housing options. Love you. =) DK