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Checking Out UWS Studios, Walking Distance to Grandma

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.

Jackie van Deuren lived on West End Avenue with her grandmother for several years after graduation, but she always had a glimmer of hope that she could end up buying somewhere close by. When she began her hunt she was resigned to it being window shopping, but there were a couple of places in her $300-$400,000 budget. After a few failed looks and even a jaunt to the east side, she gave an offer on a studio on Riverside Drive for $399,000 for asking price.

But she knew she wanted to remain near her grandmother on the Upper West Side, from which she also had an easy commute downtown to her job in advertising. Her budget range? “Cheap,” she said. That meant in the $300,000s or maybe $400,000s.

They started looking last fall, stopping in at an open house at a prewar condominium building on a busy block of West 72nd Street. They arrived to find the fire department there, extinguishing a small fire. But they were allowed to go inside and view some apartments for sale, including a cozy one-bedroom for $450,000.

Studio layouts were often a problem. Ms. van Deuren didn’t want the bed to appear front and center. That was the problem at a 520-square-foot studio on West 93rd Street, listed at $440,000.

“It was 90 percent of what we wanted,” Ms. van Deuren said. The price was $419,000. She assumed that “nobody pays asking price. You negotiate down from there.” Her offer of $405,000 was accepted.

Believing that her Upper West Side options were exhausted, Ms. van Deuren moved across Central Park. For $419,000, a studio at the Eastmore, a condop on East 76th Street, had a good layout and nice light.

She submitted an offer of $410,000, but soon withdrew it.

A few months later, the agent for Riverside Drive contacted Ms. Seidner. The buyer had a problem with financing. Was Ms. van Deuren still interested? She and her parents looked again, and also checked out a newly available studio on a higher floor. That one, with 420 square feet, was $399,000. And not only was it cheaper — it also addressed all of the flaws of the other place.

Ms. van Deuren bought the apartment for the asking price.

· In Grandmother's Neck of the Woods [NYT]