Two First-Time Buyers Find Their Nest in Queens. Which Option Did They Choose?
It was the neighborhood feel of Astoria, Queens — the walkability, the thriving gay community, the relatively low scale — that first attracted Steven Salazar and Stefano Verdesoto. Two years ago, the couple rented a one-bedroom in a big new building there, paying $2,300 a month. They didn’t have much use for the amenities, but were smitten with their stacked washer and dryer.
The couple saved assiduously during Covid. After paying off their student loans, they turned their attention to “that next phase of our lives,” said Mr. Salazar, 30, who is from El Paso, Texas, and works in advertising.
“As an immigrant and a first-generation college graduate, the dream was always to buy property,” said Mr. Verdesoto, 31, who grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens, after arriving with his family from Ecuador. He is an administrator in higher education.
The couple, now engaged, had two friends hunting for single-family homes in the Long Island suburbs. “We felt like the outliers, buying a condo in the city,” Mr. Verdesoto said. “It was interesting to learn from one another.”
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Hoping to find a one-bedroom in or near Astoria with space for their six-seat dining table, they focused on new condominiums, mostly because they wanted in-unit laundry, and co-ops with washers and dryers were scarce.
“It’s funny how a basic thing is not basic in New York,” Mr. Verdesoto said. In every common laundry room he encountered, he said, “I had flashbacks to having to do laundry in college.”
Their budget was about $700,000. Inventory was limited, which was fine with them. “Anything beyond maybe four or five options creates analysis paralysis, where there’s too much to consider,” Mr. Salazar said.
For help, they contacted Harjot Kaur Nayar, a saleswoman at Keller Williams NYC, referred by a friend’s sister.
“We reviewed what they would get in the $500s, $600s and $700s,” Ms. Nayar said, “and what matched their financial preferences and comfort level.” She also warned that they would face delays buying into a new condo development, and that there would likely be high (although negotiable) closing costs.
Among their options:
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