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In Which Something Always Goes Wrong 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.

This week's hunt is definitely a bit of a roller coaster, beginning innocuously enough with a young couple coming to that eventual realization that renting a cramped apartment just isn't cutting it anymore. So, Evan Lapidus and Natalie Ings thought they'd look for a one bedroom on the Upper East Side with an initial budget of $600,000 which was immediately sliced down to $400,000 once they really got a better understanding of their finances. They saw a slew of spots, most of which didn't cut it or their offer was rejected. When it finally did look like a place on East 72nd Street was working out, the broker called them (on the weekend he was going to propose!) and let them know someone else took it. Bummer. But, luckily for them, an earlier place on East 77th they had seen and loved but was too expensive got a price reduction and you know they pounced on it, paying $430,000.

They began the hunt a year ago, checking out one-bedrooms in the $600,000s.
They learned they needed plenty of liquid assets — a down payment plus two years of mortgage and maintenance payments. Their price range fell to the $400,000s. Last spring, the couple visited two one-bedrooms across the hall from each other at an Art Deco co-op on East 77th Street. One was listed at $535,000 with a monthly maintenance fee in the $1,300s. The other was listed at $480,000 with maintenance of a little more than $1,000.

Last spring, the couple visited two one-bedrooms across the hall from each other at an Art Deco co-op on East 77th Street. One was listed at $535,000 with a monthly maintenance fee in the $1,300s. The other was listed at $480,000 with maintenance of a little more than $1,000.

Mr. Lapidus objected to odd layouts with inefficiently used space. Miss Ings disliked small kitchens, especially as they rarely had windows.

Nothing came close until the couple found a 750-square-foot one-bedroom, with bright southern sun, at a postwar co-op on East 67th Street. The price had been steadily dropping through the $400,000s, and the maintenance fee was a little more than $1,500 a month. Their offer of $390,000 was accepted.

But because both are foreigners, they were going to have to put a year’s worth of maintenance in escrow. And they sensed a lengthy wait for permission to do renovations, which they preferred to have completed before moving in. They opted out. The apartment remains on the market, for $410,000.

Their mood brightened when they found two apartments in the same line at Charing Cross House, a postwar co-op on East 72nd Street. The higher-floor apartment had been on the market for a while, its price having dropped to $425,000 from $449,000.
They negotiated the lower-floor apartment to $425,000. But the seller couldn’t get financing for a new place, so the deal was off. They decided to go forward with the higher floor, and made an offer of $420,000.

In mid-October, they drove to Kykuit, the historic Rockefeller estate in the Hudson Valley. Mr. Lapidus was planning to propose. On their way there, Mr. Comitini called to say that apartment had been sold to someone else.

The very next morning, Mr. Comitini e-mailed them with the news that the price had dropped at one of the first places they had seen, the nice one-bedroom on East 77th Street, the one they couldn’t afford at $535,000.

Now engaged, with the wedding planned for next fall, they visited again and quickly settled on a price of $430,000.


· A Co-op With Elbow Room