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In Which Buying in Necessary for Success

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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.

David Kulla had outgrown the renting phase of his, realizing that he couldn't hold off buying just because he dreaded the move (who doesn't?). After renting in Murray Hill, he decided he would look for a one bedroom close to his office in Stuyvesant Town. His budget was around $400,000, which quickly made his hunt into a search for a studio as opposed to the one bedroom he wanted. His broker offered him the sage words of advice, "Any successful person in Manhattan should be owning a property", and soon he did! After a few failed bids, he got an accepted offer on an alcove studio in the Gramercy Park Tower on 19th Street and 3rd Avenue. It was listed at $485K, but his offer for $455K was accepted.

His budget was in the $400,000s, but he had no idea what that would buy him. He soon found that nice one-bedrooms were in the $600,000 range. But an alcove studio would do — he could add a wall and turn it into a one-bedroom. He checked out a few places in a postwar co-op building on 14th Street near First Avenue. The apartment he liked best cost $429,000.

On East 18th Street, south of Gramercy Park — a neighborhood Dr. Kulla much preferred — a well-kept alcove studio was listed at $419,000 with a maintenance fee of $600. But at 450 square feet, it was too small.

In Greenwich Village, at a place on East Ninth Street, the alcove was more like a nook in the middle of the apartment, a layout that didn’t allow for walling off a room. At $449,000, with maintenance exceeding $700, it seemed overpriced, too.

But he instantly liked Gramercy Park Tower on Third Avenue near 19th Street.
On the 10th floor, two alcove studios were for sale, each with around 650 square feet. One was listed for $450,000, with maintenance under $800. It had a window in the alcove and would require a gut renovation.

His offer of $425,000 was turned down.The other studio, across the hall, was similar but in much better shape. It had a quiet back location and three east-facing windows, and it was listed at $485,000, with maintenance in the mid-$700s. Last spring, Dr. Kulla’s offer of $455,000 was accepted.

· A Studio With a Little Give [NYT]