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.
Jeff Csoka was looking for a studio somewhere downtown in the $500,000's, hoping to use a VA loan which would help him forego a down payment. Turns out they weren't as commonplace as he thought, after being burned by 99 John and Fifty Lexington Avenue. So, what's a dad to do, when Manhattan is being a let-down? Go to Brooklyn! More specifically, he looked at the Oro in Downtown Brooklyn, which had a one-bedroom with city views that was asking $541,000. He immediately jumped on it, knowing he'd never forgive himself for letting it go. The irony? "In the end, he was unable to get a V.A. loan, but he did secure a loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration."
He wanted a large studio or one-bedroom suitable for visits from his daughter, now 6. Ideally, the place would be near both a park and a subway. Mr. Csoka’s budget started around $400,000, though it soon rose to $500,000.
Ms. Cooper showed him several places on the Upper East Side. “I don’t think he knew what he was looking for,” she said. The prewar buildings he saw seemed dingy, and he decided he preferred downtown anyway.
In the financial district, Mr. Csoka fell for 99 John Street, an Art Deco tower built in 1933 for an insurance company.
He was interested in two studio condominiums at 99 John, both with more than 500 square feet, one for $475,000 and the other for $510,000. He intended to get a loan guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, which would not require a down payment. But the building was not approved for such loans.
Fifty Lexington Avenue, a condop near 24th Street, had the advantage of a location near the 69th Regiment Armory, as well as a pool, which Mr. Csoka knew his daughter would love. A nice alcove studio, with more than 500 square feet, was priced at $487,500. But this building, too, was not approved for V.A. loans.
Then Ms. Cooper suggested the Oro, a condominium in Downtown Brooklyn, which she had read would be V.A.-approved once 70 percent of the building was sold.
Then he checked out a larger one-bedroom on a higher floor, facing Manhattan. That one, which had about 750 square feet, also cost $541,000. When he saw the view of water and skyline, he knew it was the one.