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In Which The Elusive Village Apartment Is Further Uptown

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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.

Monica Giannelli realized that it would be cheaper to buy rather than keep renting her alcove studio in Greenwich Village, putting her on an elusive hunt for a one bedroom for under $700,000. We'll save you the time and just let you know now that her budget goes up, and her ceiling eventually becomes $800,000. She looks at, and puts offers for, several apartments in the area and even a couple of blocks north of the 14th Street boundary, but to no avail. She's outbid, or the place just isn't worth the money. But then she finds out about a place on 16th Street about to come on the market for $759,000. To be safe she immediately makes an offer for $770,000 and lands the place. All's well that ends well, especially when you've got a 400 square foot terrace.

Ms. Giannelli’s price began in the $600,000s, and she saw a lot of places that were dark and overpriced. Realizing that finding a nice apartment under $700,000 was going to be difficult, she soon raised her limit. Last spring, she saw a spacious one-bedroom at the Hamilton, a postwar co-op on East Ninth Street. It was listed at $725,000, with a maintenance fee of almost $1,300 a month, which to her seemed high.

“When I heard there was this blind bid where you have to present your offer and see if it goes through,” she said, “I was very stressed out. You never know whether you offered enough.” With an offer of $715,000, she hadn’t, but she wasn’t terribly disappointed.
The apartment sold for $730,000.

Soon afterward, she saw a one-bedroom in a co-op on East 18th Street. Out back, the apartment had a lovely patio of well over 400 square feet. The price, $719,000, was low; the maintenance fee was almost $1,100. Ms. Giannelli was surprised and heartened to discover she could afford a place with such a nice yard.

But the low price attracted high bids. Seven parties were interested, said the listing agent, Ivana Tagliamonte of Halstead Property. Ms. Giannelli offered $759,000, or $40,000 over the asking price. This time when she was outbid, she was more disturbed.

A few weeks later, Ms. Tagliamonte imparted the news that another apartment in the East 18th Street building, a mirror image right next door, was about to come on the market. But the owner decided he wasn’t ready to sell.

Still, Ms. Giannelli was excited. To show how interested she was, she decided to make an offer anyway, sight unseen. She offered $760,000.

Meanwhile Ms. Giannelli’s price range rose again. Now, “$800,000 was really the outmost limit,” she said.

In the summer, on Horatio Street, she checked out a ground-floor one-bedroom co-op that was lovely but tiny. It had an enormous yard facing north and west. The listing price was $825,000...

The place sold for $830,000.

Farther uptown, a large one-bedroom in a prewar Art Deco co-op building on 16th Street had a beautiful terrace with a view of Stuyvesant Square. The price, originally $985,000, had been lowered to $925,000 — over Ms. Giannelli’s budget, but maybe it could be negotiated down further.

A few months later, good news arrived: The owner of the unseen twin on East 18th Street would be moving after all. The price was $759,000, with a maintenance fee of almost $1,100. Ms. Giannelli offered $775,000, “just to be on the safe side,” she said.
The seller immediately accepted her offer.

· When the Math Says 'Buy' [NYT]