Real Estate

How this 30-year-old content strategist bought her $620,000 NYC apartment: 'I feel proud because I did it myself'

Tamar Nisbett went viral on TikTok after sharing how she bought her NYC apartment.
Tamar Nisbett

In August, Tamar Nisbett went viral on TikTok after sharing a breakdown of how she was able to purchase her $620,000 New York City apartment without financial help from "mommy and daddy."

"My parents didn't help me, and I feel proud of that because I did it by myself," Nisbett told CNBC Make It. "Although there was no extra money, I want to be clear that I am in a super-privileged position to have had jobs that have paid well throughout my entire career."

From 2015 to 2018, Nisbett worked at Google and YouTube as a content strategist and was given stock options valued at close to $60,000.

In addition to those stocks, Nisbett had around $35,800 in her primary savings account and $50,000 in a Wealthfront account.

Nisbett also had $174,000 in her 401K that she didn't touch, she says. But she was able to show those funds to the bank when it came time to apply for a mortgage.

Of the $316,000 she had at her disposal, Nisbett said she was willing to use $120,000 of it to buy an apartment.

Buying an apartment 'felt right'

While some might gift themselves a piece of jewelry or a vacation for their birthday, Nisbett who is now a content strategist at Netflix, decided she wanted to buy herself an apartment instead.

Her 30th birthday was coming up in June.

"I moved to Amsterdam for my job and felt like it would be a good time to start planting some roots," she says. "I started mulling over what was a big thing I could give myself, and the idea to buy an apartment felt right."

In March, Nisbett had her realtor look for apartments back home in Brooklyn, New York where she grew up and her parents still live. The catch was that she would be living in Amsterdam at the time and unable to see the spaces in person.

This is how her parents were able to provide some support. "If anything ever goes wrong, my parents were going to be there," she says.

After viewing three apartments, Nisbett's mom suggested she settle on a one-bedroom, one-bathroom in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. It was on the market for $625,000.

The 600-square-foot apartment had a private balcony, a shared rooftop deck, and access to a storage space. The building was also brand new, so no one had lived in it before. There was a subway station and a park nearby.

"I saw a video and trusted my mom and the realtor, so I put an offer in," Nisbett said.

Nisbett's realtor negotiated the price down to $620,000 and closing costs came in at $11,000, thanks to a $10,000 credit she received from the building management company because she was okay with paying more upfront.

"I felt it was worth paying a bit more on my mortgage every month because I was getting the credit that would help with my closing costs, and to have that extra cash was helpful," she said.

In total, Nisbett put down 10% of the purchase price — $62,000. That put her mortgage at $2,400 a month plus additional fees for her HOA and insurance, which brings Nisbett's monthly costs for the apartment to around $3,300.

'I felt immense joy and relief'

Nisbett closed on the apartment when she returned to NYC in August and saw the space herself for the first time.

"I wasn't sure what to expect, but I felt immense joy and relief because it was full of light, on a block I loved, and just as nice as the pictures made it look," she says.

"I could immediately see myself making breakfast, reading on the balcony, and walking to my favorite restaurants. It immediately felt like it was mine."

Although Nisbett had to go back to Amsterdam after closing on the apartment for work, she plans on moving in soon.

"It was a gift I wanted to give myself, but you can give yourself gifts smaller than an apartment and still feel just as important," she says. "That's the vibe and joy I want everyone to get out of my story."

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