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.
Shai Benhamou definitely knows what he wants, and isn't willing to compromise too much. This seemed especially true in his real estate search, when he decided it was time to buy a one bedroom downtown. First he realized that his problem was location, the Financial District was too boring and he didn't want to live in a neighborhood with no nightlife. He also realized space was an issue, saying “I saw a lot of apartments with 700 square feet but a 150-foot foyer and the next thing you know, you are sitting in a 550-square-foot apartment.” Eventually, after about 100 or so failures, he found a place on Bleecker Street that he managed to get for less than $500,000. Of course it had its problems for Shai, being cramped and needing a renovation.
He was drawn to a sunny one-bedroom condominium in the financial district. It had nearly 800 square feet of space and was at the Downtown Club, the Art Deco building on West Street Because of the low price, $499,000, he was not the only person interested
Mr. Benhamou, 30, who worked in sales for a payroll processing company, gave up on that one.
He wanted a one-bedroom for $500,000 to $600,000.
Few places struck him as worth the price.
An apartment in the financial district at the Greenwich Club, 88 Greenwich Street, almost fit the bill.
The 780-square-foot one-bedroom, with monthly fees below $1,000, was listed at $729,000. Mr. Benhamou offered $550,000. He raised his bid to $615,000. The seller dropped the price to $629,000. At that point, neither would budge. The apartment later sold for $635,000.
Mr. Benhamou then realized he didn’t want to live in the financial district, which was forlorn on weekends.
The Union Square area was more lively. At a postwar co-op building there, a 700-square-foot apartment with a large living room was listed at $625,000. Monthly charges were $1,050. Mr. Benhamou’s offer of $525,000 was declined. The place later sold for $610,000.
Having seen around 100 apartments, he felt drained.
Mr. Longley told him he had to be more realistic. “Shai either loved the apartment or loved the area,” Mr. Longley said. “I said, if you want to put the two together you need to raise your price $150,000.”
Last summer, he visited a 680-square-foot one-bedroom apartment in a modest postwar co-op building on Bleecker Street. He liked the efficient layout, with two big rectangular rooms. The place was listed at $595,000.
Two other apartments also for sale there had identical footprints. One was listed at $550,000, the other at $515,000. The apartment number seemed to indicate that the less expensive one was on the ground floor.
The price had already dropped from $599,000, and the seller had moved out West. Mr. Benhamou negotiated a price of $493,500.