Lebensraum is one of the terms the Germans used to justify their crimes in WWII. It means "Living Space." They believed that the German nation needs a lot of territories to survive.
I thought about it today while driving to work after a friend of mine commented that my apartment is huge.
It's not a small apartment even by U.S standards, and in Israel, it is considered a huge one. It is around 2700 sq foot (250 sq meter).
Still, I use every part of it.
What does it include?
There are three floors.
The second floor has a large roof terrace. There is a balcony on the first floor. The building has six stories; I am at the topmost 5 and 6.
The first floor has:
Walk-in room closet
Master shower + toilets
Guest bedroom's bath + toilets
The second floor has:
A storage room, that's where I have my washer and drier (the one in this photo)
A workout room
A large movie room
Shower + toilets
Large roof terrace with mountain views. That's where I have my outdoor six men Jacuzzi (my friends have fondly named it "cum-uzzi" because I have sex there)
The third floor is the attic. I Use the attic for storage. It could have been a cool bedroom for a teenager.
Sadly, these days, it is impossible for young people to buy such an apartment, especially in my town and especially in my street. It is probably the best street in my city.
I read an article the other day, how even the States it is becoming impossible for families to buy a house because the average price of homes has gone up so much while the salaries did not.
In Israel, the housing market is booming. There would have been no way for me to buy my place today.
I purchased it in 2004 for 290,000$. Nowadays it costs over a million dollars, which is insane.
How was I able to purchase it?
I have been working since I was 15 years old, and I saved money from working for a few years in high tech. I also made a profit on my first apartment (more about that below). I was able to put 150,000$ as down payment and the rest I took as a mortgage.
This was in 2004.
By 2010, I fully paid my mortgage.
I put most of my savings into it.
Every time I saved some money, I would use it to pay back my mortgage. I wanted the place to be 100% mine. That way, I will have much less stress if I needed to find a new job or if I wanted to be unemployed.
When I tell people where I live, a lot of times their reaction is, "why did you not buy in Tel Aviv?"
Tel Aviv is the most expensive city in Israel.
It is also considered to be a gay mecca.
Buying an apartment in Tel Aviv is like a dream for many. As a young gay man (that was in 2004), Tel Aviv would have been a natural choice for me.
However, I wanted a large apartment. I did not see myself living in a small apartment so that I can be in Tel Aviv. I knew even back then that eventually I would get tired of the city and need a quieter place.
My advice to you?
It's hard to give advice when the prices are so high. High tech pays very well, also in the States. It's hard to buy homes these days from your average middle-class salary.
Still, one must start somewhere.
If I had started all over today, I would buy a much smaller place and save money to upgrade until I could afford a larger apartment.
I would also consider buying a house in a developing area and selling it after it went up in price.
This is how I started.
My first apartment was in a remote area. I lived there and drove an hour to work every morning (it was 60 miles north of the center). It has gone up in price in 6 years by 25%. That's how I had money to use as a downpayment on my current apartment.
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