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Room For 2 People And 1 Steinway

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If reading The Hunt stokes your deepest hopes that someday everything in life could work out, then you, too, are obsessed with the New York Times Sunday Real Estate section. Join us as we venture into the depths of this weekend's installment.

Monica and Kenji Bunch lived in a 1,600 square foot apartment in Cobble Hill, and believed they would never move out. That is, until their rent broke through the psychological barrier of $2,000 a month and they decided to buy a place. The catch? Their 7- foot long Steinway Grand Piano.

-The two, who are both from the West Coast, hoped to remain in or near Cobble Hill, where many of Mrs. Bunch’s students live. They needed a living room large enough to hold the piano, plus some kind of separate area where Mr. Bunch could work. Their price range, in the mid-$300,000s, soon rose into the $400,000s. Even that, however, was low for the neighborhood. -A ground-floor two-bedroom in a prewar co-op on Lincoln Place in Prospect Heights was advertised as “sharing no walls with any other unit.” The asking price was $399,000, with a monthly maintenance of $734. There the Bunches met Sarah Rouse, an associate broker at the Corcoran Group’s office in Park Slope. That unit quickly sold for $375,000, but Ms. Rouse e-mailed the Bunches a list of possibilities, all condominiums.

-“I didn’t want them to end up in a place where the piano would take up the entire living room.”

-At an eight-unit condominium building on Sterling Place, the ground-floor units, with private yards, were already spoken for, and the top-floor duplexes too pricey. But the Bunches liked a one-bedroom of about 850 square feet, listed at $384,000, with monthly fees around $500.

-They did an informal noise test, with one of them pounding on the walls while the other stood in the apartment across the hall. “I was afraid of being ‘that annoying neighbor with the piano,’ ” Mrs. Bunch said. But the building was well insulated and the noise situation seemed fine.

-The Bunches intended to bid $330,000. But first they wanted to see a ground-floor duplex on Bergen Street with more than 1,000 square feet.

-“Seeing that much space, that’s what swayed us” into deciding they needed a bigger apartment, Mrs. Bunch said. That one was $429,000, plus almost $400 in monthly charges.

-Still, they had been comparing everything with the Sterling Place building. A 1,020-square-foot two-bedroom there — the one they had been in when pounding on the walls — was listed at $464,000. “I didn’t even let myself entertain the idea of: What if we could live here,” Mrs. Bunch said. But, with help from their families, they could. After several rounds of negotiations, the Bunches were able to buy the two-bedroom for $440,000, with a down payment of $180,000.

-During the $5,000 move, the piano suffered minor damage.

Have any readers had an experience like this, where a possession pretty much determined the livability of any apartment?

· An Apartment With Space To Play Music, But Not Bother Neighbors [NYT]