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Looking For Some Greenery in Park Slope

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.

Brian and Bridget Applegate were living on the Upper East Side in a cramped rental for just over $2,000 a month. When the constricted living environment began to be too much, they decided it was time to buy. They were into the idea of having some greenery in their lives so Park Slope was their first choice. Having several failed offers, they outbid other buyers for a fixer upper on Union Street.

-They were eager to buy, and it had to be a larger place. -The couple paid a little more than $2,000 a month in rent. Meanwhile, they were saving diligently for a down payment.

-Mrs. Applegate, who is from Indianapolis, wanted a patch of green, and thought they needed to move to the suburbs to get one. But Mr. Applegate, whose family moved often when he was young, had spent five childhood years in Westchester County and was not keen on the idea.

-They decided that Park Slope, Brooklyn, or somewhere nearby, fit their requirement for a neighborhood with “a lot to do,” Mr. Applegate said.

-They wished for a fireplace and that patch of green — a bit of the outdoors that would allow them to step out and check the weather. After studying the market, they determined that they would need to spend about $700,000.

-Last February they made their first offer, on a fourth-floor walk-up with 950 square feet of space on Prospect Place in Prospect Heights. The listing price was $595,000, and the monthly maintenance was $720. A metal ladder led to a shared roof deck. The building met their no-doorman requirement, but it also lacked a buzzer, so one of them would have to walk down three flights to let in visitors.

-The Applegates bid $585,000, but the apartment sold for $575,000 to a buyer paying all cash. “We were totally crushed,” Mrs. Applegate said.

-“She was heartbroken,” Mr. Applegate said, “and she didn’t think we would find anything that nice again.”

-But they did, on 13th Street in South Park Slope. The four-story building had an elevator, which impressed them as unusual. A spiral staircase led to a solarium and a roof deck with a Manhattan view. “I thought it would be cool to watch storms roll in,” Mrs. Applegate said.

-The kitchen of the 1,000-square-foot apartment was small, but they could easily expand it. The price, $699,000, seemed high, but the agent suggested that the owner was willing to negotiate. Maintenance was around $850.

-The Applegates offered $653,000, but negotiations stalled. The apartment was later taken off the market.

-On Fifth Street in Park Slope, the Applegates visited a 720-square-foot two-bedroom. The place had been lovingly restored. The couple admired the tin ceilings, French doors, fireplace with mantel and claw-foot tub. The apartment was listed at $699,000, with a monthly maintenance fee of less than $600. The Applegates offered $662,000.

-“I don’t know if it just enchanted us at first,” Mr. Applegate said. “Whereas before we thought it was a little small, now it was terrifyingly small.” The sellers had “a little specially made bed in there for their kid.”

-The apartment ended up selling to someone else for its asking price.

-One day they found themselves at a long, skinny apartment of nearly 900 square feet in an eight-unit co-op on Union Street in Park Slope. They liked the pretty bay window, the large kitchen, and the linen closet in the bathroom. There was a wood-burning fireplace in the living room and a private backyard.

-They decided not to let a little paint — well, a lot of paint — stand in their way. The price was $619,000, with maintenance of $640.

-The appraisal came in for around $20,000 over the listing price. Several parties were interested, and the price was bid up, Mr. Nolan said. The Applegates ended up winning the price war, paying $641,000.

This was a particularly soul-crushing hunt, but we're glad that these two found what they were looking for, even if it's going to take a little elbow grease to make it livable.

· In Park Slope, a Little Breathing Room [NYT]