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Looking For a Spacious 3 BR, With Mother's Approval

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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.

Teddy Phillips and Paul Morejon lived together in Washington Heights, renting an apartment, as they had been doing so in various neighborhoods for years. When the time came to make the decision to buy, they probably had no idea how much of a quest it would be to find the ideal 3 bedroom apartment with enough privacy so Mr. Philips's mother could live with them. Venturing as far out as Jersey City, they searched high and low and wound up in Harlem with a two bedroom apartment that had a den which could be converted into a bedroom if the need arises.

-But first, as was their policy, they had to try out the neighborhood, so they rented a big one-bedroom on Haven Avenue. Their apartment, for $1,725 a month, was five flights up. -About three years ago, the couple began hunting for a home. Their price range started in the mid $500,000s. They invited Ms. Phillips, who is awaiting a liver transplant, to live with them.

-They also planned to adopt a child someday, so they needed a three-bedroom home with two bathrooms and a layout where “Mom had her space on one side of the apartment and we had ours on the other,” Mr. Phillips said.

-So whenever they looked at a place, they would test the acoustics by splitting up, one going into a bedroom and calling the other’s name.
Other requirements included few or no stairs, and a lobby attendant in case of an emergency.

-The only place in Washington Heights that interested the couple was a three-bedroom in a prewar co-op building near the George Washington Bridge. It had gone on the market at $438,000 and, after renovation, returned at $540,000. But ultimately, they decided against Washington Heights.

-They decided to look in Jersey City, where Mr. Morejon was certain they would get more for their money. He was especially enticed by the oversize spaces at Canco Lofts. (The other day, a three-bedroom duplex with more than 1,500 square feet of space was priced at $545,000.)

-But the location, near highways and industrial buildings, was remote. The PATH train was a shuttle ride away.
Last year, they realized that three-bedrooms in Harlem were within reach.

-A three-bedroom duplex at Bradhurst Court on West 145th Street had a sufficiently private layout, plus a terrace. The co-op was listed at $599,000, with monthly maintenance around $1,370. (The building has an annual income restriction of $192,000 gross per household.) But the apartment was at the back of the building, beyond a courtyard. The lengthy walk to enter and exit was “far too much for my mom,”

-One day, during his lunch hour, Mr. Phillips inspected the Ellington on the Park, a 133-unit co-op on Bradhurst Avenue and West 148th Street.

-When Mr. Morejon went to see the Ellington, he was drawn not to the three-bedrooms but to the two-bedroom model apartment, a 1,200-square-foot space with a den that could function as an extra bedroom.

-The listing price was $677,000; the couple paid $602,000.

· Lively Neighborhood Essential [NYT]