From Greenpoint to Bushwick: I wanted more space and to build equity

  • She was heartbroken to leave the small-town feel of Greenpoint, but knew her money would not go very far
  • After building her credit score for six months, she paid $825,000 for new condo, $100,000 less than asking 
By Kelly Kreth  |
January 5, 2024 - 9:30AM
transitions brick underground

Heloisa enjoys the city view from her new two-bedroom condo, which she shares with her dog, Eduardo. 

Heloisa was happily renting a cozy loft when she decided it was time to buy a place and "divorce her landlord." She reluctantly left Greenpoint in search of a great investment in more affordable Bushwick. Here’s her story. 

I was born in Juazeiro do Norte, in the northeast of Brazil, and raised until my teens in New York City and Brazil. After my mother got divorced, she asked me if I wanted to stay in Brazil with my father or move to NYC with her. I said, “Let’s go to NYC!” So, by now I have spent the majority of my life here and I consider myself a New Yorker. 

For the last seven years I was happily living in Greenpoint with my dog, Eduardo. 

I rented a charming loft with high, wood-beamed ceilings, brick walls, and a great outdoor space. It is so welcoming, warm, and cozy that it felt like a uterus!

It was the first unit I saw when I entered one of those pencil factory buildings, which had an elevator and came with laundry facilities. My rent was $3,650.

Highlights of her old neighborhood

I immediately fell in love with Greenpoint. It felt like I was living in a small town instead of a huge metropolis. Transmitter Park became my second garden. I loved the small stores, the bohemian streets, and how well-serviced I was since everything was within three blocks away.

Some of my favorite places are: Maman on Kent Street any time of day, Pauli Gees for its cozy atmosphere, Chez Ma Tant for French, Di An Di for Vietnamese flavors and atmosphere, Naked Dog for homemade pasta and sunsets, Achilles Heel to chill in the afternoon, Cafe Alula for Lebanese-inspired lattes, and Nathan’s Farm for fresh veggies. I liked walking along Manhattan Avenue. You’d find everything there.
While I loved the building and area, my commute to Manhattan was sometimes difficult. I am a real estate agent with Keller Williams NYC, so I had to commute into Manhattan, which took about 45 minutes by subway. I'd take the G train to connect at Court Square in Long Island City or the L at Bedford. I could also sometimes take the East River ferry or bike or walk across the Pulaski Skyway. 

I had a car, but there's so much new construction it is reducing on-street parking space. 

[Editor's Note: Brick Underground's series “Transitions” features first-person accounts of what it’s like to move from one New York City neighborhood to another. Have a story to share? Drop us an email. We respect all requests for anonymity.]

Wanted: A two bedroom in an elevator building

In January of 2023, I started to plan to buy something—I was ready to ‘divorce my landlord.’ The first thing I did was work on my credit as I wanted it to be as high as possible. It took me about six months before I was truly ready to buy. 

I saw about 20 apartments in Greenpoint. Sadly, anything below $1 million would not get me a two bedroom with outdoor space in an elevator building. I did see some new developments on the outskirts of Greenpoint, but I hated the finishes. 

I headed to Bushwick as I knew I could get more for my money there. I first went to look at a one-bedroom apartment with one and a half baths and a huge outdoor space in an eight-unit building.

But then I viewed a two-bedroom condo and saw the value of it with more space, a balcony, and a view of Manhattan. I was impressed by the finishes and the vented washer/dryer. I negotiated for the rooftop above it and additional storage. This was more attractive from an investment standpoint. I even asked that the sellers throw in the staged furniture to make my move easier. 

It was originally listed for $925,000 and I ended up buying it in September for $825,000. 

What it takes to close a deal

The offer was accepted the same week I had booked a trip to Greece, so I asked for the contract to be rushed over to my attorney. A few days later, they collected my signature pages, and I signed a power of attorney, wired the money, and took off on vacation. 

Finally, I stepped on firm soil after days of traveling from island to island on a catamaran and celebrated at a seafood restaurant that the contract was fully executed.

I like to tell people it takes an 'army of angels' to get a deal done. In my case, my file was being passed from one desk to another at the underwriting department. You need a great lawyer, mortgage broker, and title insurance. There were so many hands and heads trying to overcome any challenges for me to buy this place. 

Making the best of her new environs

Still, I left Greenpoint in tears, heartbroken because I love it but decided to move away from it for more space and a great investment. 

I landed between Broadway and Bushwick avenues, where I never thought I would live. I'm often on Manhattan Avenue, which desperately needs a facelift but is very convenient with supermarkets, pharmacies, and banks. However, I often go back to Greenpoint to run errands. 
I really like having more space. The big elevator, neutral-color finishes tastefully picked inside the apartment, and access to Saratoga Park and The Evergreens Cemetery are all great. 
My commute is about the same in terms of time. I now take the J train, which is about a 45-minute ride depending on what part of Manhattan I am headed to. 

Although I haven't been exploring much of Bushwick's nightlife yet, here are my favorite places so far: House Party Café is just two blocks away, Tabaré is a great/cozy Uruguayan place, Forever Thai is delicious for dinner, and Irving Square Park is one of my favorite places in the area. 

I like change and most of all wished to own versus rent because I believe in building equity. 

I have hosted dinner parties for friends and family—and we all celebrated Thanksgiving in my new place. I have also met locals and wave hello on the streets to new familiar faces. It feels nice. It’s a sense of belonging.

I plan on staying for at least five years to make my investment work—I want my property to appreciate in value and for mortgage rates to go lower. 



Kelly Kreth

Contributing writer

Contributing writer Kelly Kreth has been a freelance journalist, essayist, and columnist for more than two decades. Her real estate articles have appeared in The Real Deal, Luxury Listings, Our Town, and amNewYork. A long-time New York City renter who loves a good deal, Kreth currently lives in a coveted rent-stabilized apartment in a luxury building on the Upper East Side.

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