I purchased an apartment in NYC when I was 23 years old.

Growing up, my mother and father always told me that purchasing real estate in a good place will always be stable and I should invest in that when I’m early.

I come from a family where real estate is a big part of how we operate and stay financially stable. As I look back, I wonder if my Persian culture played a role in my family’s philosophy. Because my family was politically involved in Iran, their financial assets were frozen during the revolution. After the revolution, it was very hard to say something was yours unless you had a deed. My family invested in real estate post-revolution since that was the only thing that they trusted — a piece of paper that said this land was theirs.

When I knew I’d be staying in NYC for awhile, buying a property with the support of my parents made the most sense to me. We spend so much on rent — yet it doesn’t go toward anything in the future for yourself. The money just goes for that month. When you pay a mortgage, it is a healthy debt since you’re paying for an asset and building a good credit.

I had no idea how to navigate NYC real estate. It wasn’t a happy time. I cried when I couldn’t find a place, when I couldn’t find a place fast enough. I didn’t know what I was doing and it was stressful. While my family was there for emotional support, they live in LA and have no idea how real estate works here. What’s the difference between a co-op versus condo? It was a learning process for all of us.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from purchasing a property, is how to be an advocate for myself. Not everyone will have your back in this process. I realized if I didn’t stand up and say no, I wouldn’t get what I want. My advice for anyone who decides to go through buying is to give yourself the time to do your research, ask questions, and trust the right people.

This isn’t going to be the last apartment I ever live in. Yet, I have a control in the choices I make. I don’t see purchasing a property in my 20s as a heavy weight on my shoulders. I’m looking at this as a stepping stone to continue building my future. One day, I want to live in a beautiful Brooklyn brownstone and this is a step in that direction of the bigger things I want for myself in life.

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