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.
The story of the Alvarez family isn't a unique one. Husband and wife are professionals with a young child who's growing fast, and as a result the space they're in is getting cramped. Likely more settled in life now than when they first signed the lease for their $2,600 a month rental in Windsor Terrace, they decided it would be the right time to buy. Even for two lawyers who were educating themselves in the ways of real estate, the search proved exhausting with a series of let downs and even a flirtation with condos. Though exhausting, it wasn't futile as they found the perfect family home in Midwood.
-The couple quickly realized that their budget, topping out in the low $600,000s, would not be sufficient for Windsor Terrace. -They visited a five-bedroom house on Fenimore Street in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, but left discouraged. The house was in good shape but had a big problem: three bathrooms but no bathtub. “I am not putting the baby in a shower,” Mrs. Alvarez said.
The bathtub situation proved a moot point anyway. At $849,000, the house was too expensive.
-But the houses they saw within their budget were in sorry shape. Mrs. Alvarez worried they would end up with “a horrible wreck of a house.”
-They found Bedford-Stuyvesant wonderfully friendly, and took an interest in a two-family house on Macon Street.
-The house, which had sold for $360,000 in June 2010, had been renovated and flipped. The listing price was $649,000. Inside was an abundance of period detail, including stained-glass windows and the original icebox and wrought-iron oven.
-“They were finishing it beautifully in terms of the aesthetics,” Mr. Alvarez said, “but the nuts and bolts of the house still needed some significant work.” The couple declined to pursue the purchase.
-They liked another two-family home, this one on Hancock Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant. It was in good shape, with a nice backyard. The listing price had dropped to $610,000 from $650,000.
-The house had a certificate of occupancy for a one-family, but was being taxed as a two-family. Again, they backed away.
-So they visited several condominiums, but determined that they would get substantially less space for their money.
-And then, at an open house in South Midwood, they found it.
-The brick row house, with nearly 2,000 square feet of space, had four bedrooms upstairs. The master bedroom had blue flowered wallpaper everywhere, including the ceiling. There were two bathrooms, a flagstone-paved backyard and an unfinished basement with a washer and a dryer. The asking price was $580,000.
-The couple closed in late December, paying $540,000.