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A growing family warrants a move from the UWS to a Bed-Stuy brownstone

Welcome to It Happened One Weekend, our weekly roundup of The New York Times real estate section...

Every "The Hunt" column begins with the Hunters describing the apartment they want, and ends with them rationalizing whatever they came away with. This is The Hunt: Dreams vs. Reality.

The Hunters: Seth Burroughs and Elli Papadopoulos


Dream: $1.8 million

Reality: about $1.7 million


Dream: West Harlem or Bed-Stuy

Reality: Bed-Stuy


Dream: Multi-family townhouse, backyard, close to subway

Reality: Multi-family townhouse, backyard, close to subway


Seth Burroughs met his wife-to-be, Elli Papadopoulos, while living in a large one-bedroom apartment in an Upper East Side co-op building that he had purchased for $625,000 back in 2008. She, along with a roommate, lived in a two-bedroom apartment in Sunnyside, Queens. As their relationship progressed, Papadopoulos joined Burroughs in his UWS pad and they eventually wed, and soon started to consider expanding their family. The realization came that they would need a bigger space.

Though initially they considered purchasing a two-bedroom in West Harlem or Brooklyn, the couple figured that with their initial budget of $1.1 million it would be wiser to hunt for a two-family house in Bed-Stuy where they could capitalize on extra income by renting out the extra unit. With that possibility in mind, they upped their budget to $1.8 million.

They connected with a salesman from Compass real estate who showed them around the neighborhood. Bed-Stuy appealed to them for its communal vibes and sense of a cohesive neighborhood where people cared for each other. They didn’t have too many demands but Burroughs strongly desired a backyard.

Upon visiting a two-family home on Madison Street, the expecting couple fell in love with the home, despite its quirks. It was asking $1.995 million, a bit above their budget but they bid anyway for $1.8 million, keeping in mind that the house needed some work. But alas, a more eager buyer acquired the home for a little over $2 million. Similarly, they were outbid for a three-bedroom townhouse on Decatur Street that too needed work. They offered $1.5 million for the home that was asking $1.99 million. It sold for $2.2 million.

Last but not least, the couple visited a two family home located within the Stuyvesant Heights Historic District listed for $1.665 million. The home was in the process of being renovated but retained some of its historic charm. Plus being conveniently located steps away from the subway, restaurants, and bars was nice. Burroughs and Papadopoulos really liked the home. They made sure to bid more aggressively for the home, offering just over $1.7 million. They were allowed to give their input for the renovations, customizing it to their likings, rented out the one-bedroom unit for $2,100 a month, and made their new house into a home.