David R. Gray, Jr. is an attorney concentrating in tax, real estate and civil litigation and appeals. David was born and raised in Chicago.
In what city/state was your first house located and approximately what year did you buy it?
My wife and I still live in our first home, which is a duplex condominium in the Wrigleyville neighborhood of Chicago.
What was your living situation prior to buying your first house? Where/with whom/etc?
Prior to purchasing this home, we lived for a short time in a small apartment in the same neighborhood. We have been living in Wrigley for well over 10 years.
What motivated you to purchase your first house?
As a real estate attorney I know the advantages of home ownership. A home is not only a major investment but a place to raise a family. We’re not the type to move around a lot, so we value the stability of home ownership. Our home was not only a great investment but has been a wonderful place for my family to live.
What are 3 things you liked most about the house?
We have a duplex which is two floors and feels like a single family home. We also have two outdoor areas and two parking spots. Parking in wrigleyville can be challenging, so having adequate parking was a plus. We are about a block and half from where the Cubs play, and as a sports fan I love being so close to the stadium and the excitement of game days.
Was there anything you didn’t like about it?
Living in the City has its challenges no doubt but since I work long hours downtown, I really like the short commute. I also like the fact we can walk to so many great restaurants.
Did you make any improvements or major renovations to the house?
Our home was new when we purchased it so we were able to choose many of the materials and customize a great deal of it. It was a fun experience as well to work with the builder on making our dream come true.
Please share 1-2 of your fondest/funniest memories from living there.
The best memory I have of our home, which is one of the best memories I have, is bringing our newborn son home from the hospital. It was just before Cubs opening day actually, and made for a great spring and summer. I took him to his first game when he was only about two or three months old, he loved it.
When you purchased, were you thinking of it as an investment or as a place to start a family. Please elaborate.
As far as real estate prices, I started practicing law in 2002 and so I worked through the years where real estate values were increasing substantially and the market was very hot for sales and financing. Then, I worked through the great real estate market crash of 2008. In some areas the values are still depressed but I believe as a long term investment, real estate is still very safe. We all need a place to live after all.
What advice would you give other first time home buyers?
My advice for first time home buyers would be to save. Through my career I have seen too many people who have difficulty financially managing a property with increasing taxes, maintenance, insurance and assessments.