Author My First Apartment
Alex Starace

Alex Starace and his wife own a condo in Chicago. Alex enjoys basketball, biking and jazz. His writing also appears regularly in My First Apartment, South Florida Opulence and TriQuarterly.
The Plusses and Minuses of Buying A Condo Pre-Construction
The Plusses and Minuses of Buying A Condo Pre-Construction

The Plusses and Minuses of Buying A Condo Pre-Construction

  |   By AuthorMy First Apartment
If you’ve been searching for a condo a while, you’ve probably come across listings of places that are still under construction. Maybe you can see developer’s plans, or you can visit a model at the developer’s office, or you can walk around the construction site. But the place you’re buying is not yet built and you cannot see…
10 Point Neighborhood Checklist for Condo Buyers
10 Point Neighborhood Checklist for Condo Buyers

10 Point Neighborhood Checklist for Condo Buyers

  |   By AuthorMy First Apartment
Before you go out condo hunting, you need to decide in which neighborhood(s) you’re going to look. Since you’re buying for the long term (ideally, five years or more), you want to be confident you’ll still love where you live down the road – and that when you go to sell, the property (and neighborhood)…
Should You Pay Extra on Your Mortgage Principal?
Should You Pay Extra on Your Mortgage Principal?

Should You Pay Extra on Your Mortgage Principal?

  |   By AuthorMy First Apartment
As much as you love your new condo, you sure are paying a lot of interest on your mortgage. You’ve heard that it’s possible to pay extra principal each month – and that there are benefits to doing so, including reducing your overall interest payments. Is this true? How does it work? Assuming you have…
How to Run a Successful Condo Search
How to Run a Successful Condo Search

How to Run a Successful Condo Search

  |   By AuthorMy First Apartment
You have a broker, you’ve made a list of your must-haves for your first place and you know what neighborhood you want to live in.  The key now is actually finding good prospects – places you’re excited to go out and see. Here are some tips I found useful in my search. First, let your…
Six Wrong Reasons to Buy a Condo
Six Wrong Reasons to Buy a Condo

Six Wrong Reasons to Buy a Condo

  |   By AuthorMy First Apartment
You might want to buy a condo, but perhaps you have a sneaking feeling it’s the wrong move. Maybe you feel like you’re being pressured into it, or you just get an anxious tension when you go out hunting. Maybe your gut is telling that you are not ready to buy – yet. After checking…
How to Become a Good Condo Association Member
How to Become a Good Condo Association Member

How to Become a Good Condo Association Member

  |   By AuthorMy First Apartment
When you buy a condo you automatically become a member of your building’s (or development’s) Association. Think of it this way: by living where you do, you become a citizen of the neighborhood. You formally participate in your building’s affairs through the Association. So what should you do to make sure you become a good member in…
Choosing the Right Broker
Choosing the Right Broker

Choosing the Right Broker

  |   By AuthorMy First Apartment
Choosing your broker is one of the biggest decisions you make when beginning the search for a condominium. A good broker will give you advice, always keep her eyes and ears open for new units and be patient as you extend your search. Your broker will also point out potential issues with a condo that…
Eight Signs You’re Ready to Buy a Condo
Eight Signs You’re Ready to Buy a Condo

Eight Signs You’re Ready to Buy a Condo

  |   By AuthorMy First Apartment
You’ve been thinking about it for a little while, but you’re not quite sure. Are you really ready to buy a condo? In fact, you may be. Here are eight signs that now’s the time! 1. Money Saved. Buying property requires a large down payment, usually twenty percent. If you’ve been squirreling away money (for…
The Condo Purchase Timeline: How Long Will It Take?
The Condo Purchase Timeline: How Long Will It Take?

The Condo Purchase Timeline: How Long Will It Take?

  |   By AuthorMy First Apartment
You’ve decided to get into the market. And now you want to know how long until you’ve found and moved into your dream condo­­: a month, a year? While the time required for each step can vary significantly, we thought we’d break down the process and provide rough estimates for what you should expect. Getting…
How Does a Mortgage Work?
How Does a Mortgage Work?

How Does a Mortgage Work?

  |   By AuthorMy First Apartment
If you’re buying a place, you’re almost certain to need a mortgage. Here’s the lowdown on mortgages. A mortgage is a loan. In the most basic sense, that’s all it is – it’s a loan that allows someone to buy real estate. Like all loans, mortgages have interest rates. In other words, if you take out a…