When I say "First inkling" I want to laugh. I had no clue then really about how bad it was going to be. In fact my definition of "Bad" has been revised downward multiple times since. I lived in Tysons Corner not far from where I worked. I had a condo. Not as good as a house when I bought it but respectable. I was one of the first buyers so I got the side I wanted. I had a nice view of the office towers and other condos that had sprouted like mushrooms around us. At the time I though that was very cool.
Unfortunately not only was I one of the first wave of buyers but I also turned out to be part of the last wave of buyers. The building was 20% occupied when I moved in. More units than that had sold but no one was living in them. They had been bought by speculators. At the time what they were doing made perfect sense to me. These places were only going to go up. It was easy money. Hell, I only planned on living in mine for a couple years until I could sell it and buy a house or something. It got a little fuzzy after that. I wasn't sure what I was going to buy. I just knew it would be better. I wasn't even sure how to define "Better." The best I could come with was bigger. There was usually a blond in there somewhere too. In my world big houses were the ultimate aphrodisiac back then.
It was a nice place. Huge too. The freaking hallways went on forever. They had left the concrete supports exposed everywhere for the edgy look. The same for inside the condo where they left the vent work exposed but painted in muted earth tones. I had a loft room behind the kitchen. It was raised and only had three walls and no door. My bedroom led into the bathroom and, as one woman visitor squealed, "You have a huge closet!" I didn't get her to squeal like that later much to my disappointment. I found out that sex was not as exciting for her as spending money, preferably mine was. We went our separate ways after I figured that out. I was way to young to be a sugar daddy.
The building had a pool too. I hadn't looked to closely at it when I bought the place. When I finally went down to use it I was surprised to find that it was only four feet deep. I asked about that and was told it was for "insurance reasons." It was still a nice place. It even had a Harris-Tweeter grocery store connected to it. I found that parking was never a problem no matter how late I came back at night. Eventually they closed off about half the parking with a chain link fence. I didn't ask. I already knew. It had to be "insurance reasons."