Rachel Kugel resides with her family in New York City. She is an attorney who operates her own practice that serves both New York and New Jersey. Rachel and her family have tackled the challenge that is Manhattan real estate since they first moved into Manhattan in 2001.

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

New York, N.Y. in 2011.

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

We had been renting in different neighborhoods throughout New York City dealing with the increasing challenge here of finding more space for our growing family.

What motivated you to purchase your first house?

We needed more space and a place that could include my mother as well. We required a unique space because we want to live together but also have our own spaces for each family. I saw owning real estate as a major investment in the future of my family.

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

We rented for a long time and purchased a home that needed work. We were able to get creative about using our ability to put some effort into the house to secure more house for our money.

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

Both, we purchased in a place that we knew we could raise our family but also that was a changing neighborhood where we knew values would increase quickly.

What are 3 things you liked most about the house?

Neighborhood, space, original details.

Was there anything you didn’t like about it?

Too many stairs!

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

Yes, our home was previously used as an office space therefore we needed to add kitchens and full baths to the space. We also had a major fire during the minor renovations so our relatively small rehab project turned into a complete gut renovation.

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

Our neighborhood does an incredible and old-fashioned Halloween. We get thousands of kids from all over the city that come here to trick or treat. We sit on the stoop and get such a kick out of watching the kids each year and our children love walking around our block and checking out all the cool decorations. This year they even set up a monster mash dance party in our front patio for all the kids to stop at and party as they went by.

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

Still live here.

What advice would you give other first time home buyers?

Get creative and buy the worst house on the best block.