Hal Zimmerman is a first generation American from New York. His dad worked in the city, but he didn’t make much money so his family moved into a townhouse that was on a cul de sac where there were tons of kids his age.

Halloween was fantastic because three were over 300 homes all close to each other; bring your garbage bag because it got filled with candy.

The friends Hal made there are still his friends today and they are all close.

Hal Zimmerman’s First House

In what city/state was your first house located and approximately what year did you buy it?

It was located in Washingtonville, New York.

My parents were not the most well off and they had to move out of the city. This area was close enough to the city without the commute being too crazy. Also the prices at the time were very reasonable in the area.. not anymore but back then

What was your living situation prior to buying your first house? Where/with whom/etc?

New York city area. Everyone or most people in NYC area are in condos. However the neighborhood was definitely a little rough and I think my parents were trying to make a change.

What motivated you to purchase your first house?

Personally, I bought my first home when I was 22 yrs old. At the time it was the best investment to make and it was cheaper to buy than to rent. I have always believed that location location location were the most important thing in buying, so that is what I did. Found and affordable town house in the best area of up state new York.

How did you go about getting the money together to buy it?

I worked a crazy amount of hours and saved every penny to make the down payment. It was surely worth it because the house appreciated greatly and I sold it for far more than I bought it for. I pass by the home every now and then. The block still looks beautiful and the homes have continued to soar in value.

When you purchased, were you thinking of it as an investment or as a place to start a family. Please elaborate.

Investment for sure. I was single and young. No way I was going to be there for more than 5 years…. It worked out in the end. The home paid out and continues to appreciate even after the recession.

What are 3 things you liked most about the house?

The house was located very close to all the major things you want in the life and was especially close to the down town area.. still had to drive but basically a few minutes away. It was also close to the University where I was going to masters and was walkable to the grocery store and cleaners etc.

It was also a very impressive home.. it had vaulted ceilings, and great finishes for the time so it was a great place to entertain, especially during the summer.

No maintenance, the HOA managed cleaning, snow removal and repairs. It was excellent because you could have your weekends to yourself and not have to work on the house or mow the lawn etc.

Was there anything you didn’t like about it?

The neighborhood was great, but I was the youngest person there and all my friends were downtown living in condos.. would have been great to be closer to them.. but at the time I was done renting and throwing that money away.

Did you make any improvements or major renovations to the house?

At my first home with my partents… It is where I learned carpentry. My grandfather was a general contractor and I had projects every week working on the home both inside and out. From finishing the basement to making rock gardens outside

Please share 1-2 of your fondest/funniest memories from living there.

Boy Scout meetings we always held there and we had the best projects that my mom ran us though

We would get tons of snow, so we built the most magnificent forts and also as we got older we built a ski jump in the back yard

Do you still live there or did you sell it or renting it?

We still own the home. It is a great thing to use when guests come over because it works like a guest house.

IF YOU SOLD IT, please provide sales data, as we regularly update our appreciation page to show how real estate prices are changing in the US. Send the following:

Year you bought the house -1997

Year you sold the house -2003

What you bought it for -125k

What you sold it for 140k

What advice would you give other first time home buyers?

Buy a place you love, more for the location than the features and look of the home.

The first thing is really to understand if you have the best location and neighborhood. Do not underestimate the value of sweat equity.

Many of the improvements can ne made to increase the value of the home inside with some very small investments. It may be better to buy the home as is and then add improvements inside and out on your own.

I have to say the best way to do this is with a designer or architect. You don’t need those $300 per hour type people, sometimes you can get one at a reasonable price, but they can save you dependent on the size of the job.

Learn more about Hal Zimmermann at his business website: http://www.haldenzimmermann.us/