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Designing the Microdwellings; What Makes a Broker Tick?

1) This week's Hunt couple, Audrey and Karl, meet while in the military. Now, Audrey is out and has enrolled in Columbia Business School, so they begin to look for a place on the Upper West Side. Karl's father was also in the military, so he's never lived in one place for very long. He's pretty flexible, which is good, because he can only make it to the city for a couple days of apartment hunting. He and Audrey have a broker line up a dozen places for them to check out, confident that at least one will meet their minimum standards. They cross places off the list with military precision, finally settling on a newly-renovated 1BR on Riverside Drive for $313,000. The two get married, and Audrey moves in. It is unclear when Karl will return, but he is looking forward to it. "I've never had a home," he says, making everybody really sad, but also happy, because now he does! He seems excited about arranging the furniture. [The Hunt/'Looking for a Place to Keep']

2) In anticipation of the impending microdwelling design competition, the Times interviewed a bunch of twenty-somethings who are paying $2,000 a month to live in 200-square-foot Manhattan studio apartments. The twenty-somethings, for their part, did an admirable job of making that sound not terrible, saying things like, "The park is my living room!" and "It's really great, honestly, but I kind of wish that my body wasn't twice and long as my bed" (we're paraphrasing). Several architecture firms hoping to win the rights to design the new units also weighed in on what aspects are essential in order to make a space livable. Apparently, "bathrooms" are a deal breaker. ['Shrink to Fit'; photo via Apartment Therapy]

3) The second "Debriefing" installment takes the form a Q & A conducted with three different brokers. Probably the most interesting and revealing part is when they ask each broker what special talent or insight he or she brings to the table. Robin Goldberg of Sotheby's says her special talent is her age (by which she means life experience) and listening skills. Peter Grazioli of Halstead cites his lifetime's worth of useless Brooklyn knowledge, which is now coming in handy, and his honesty. Gretchen de Chellis of Simone Song Properties says that she is "creative, and you have to be creative to put deals together and close them." Taking all of that into consideration, the perfect superbroker must be an old, honest person, who is a good listener, absorbs lots of neighborhood history, and has a questionable definition of the word "creative." [Debriefing/'So You Want to Be a Broker']