Dr. Dina Elachi and Victor Wong started their search for a house in the Hudson Valley in 2019, prior to the surge in the real estate market caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The couple, who had frequented the area for outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, rock climbing, and ice climbing, decided it was time to move out of their East Harlem apartment. The catalyst for their search was their adopted dog, Wonton, who wasn’t comfortable in their New York City neighborhood due to rats and other dogs.
Dr. Elachi, a neonatologist and assistant professor of clinical pediatrics, was about to finish her fellowship and start a higher-paying position, which made them more serious about finding a new home. Mr. Wong, an environmental engineer, joined in the search. They had a budget of approximately $700,000 and planned to finance their purchase through a special loan for physicians with medical school debt, allowing for a smaller down payment and no private mortgage insurance.
The couple was up against fierce competition in the Hudson Valley housing market as many New Yorkers sought homes outside the city. They hoped to find a property in Ulster County near the Mohonk Preserve and Minnewaska State Park Preserve. However, they soon realized they would have to make compromises due to the tough buyer’s market they were facing. Laurel Sweeney, an associate broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nutshell Realty, guided them through the process, highlighting the benefits of their specific financing situation to sellers.
The couple’s search became exhausting, as Dr. Elachi had to view houses after long shifts and being on call. Despite the challenges, they ultimately found a home that met their needs and budget. Their story showcases the competitive nature of the pandemic housing market and the importance of working with knowledgeable real estate professionals to navigate these challenging times.
(Source: The New York Times)