During her years of moving among New York shares and sublets, Lisa Marsova encountered tiny bedrooms, soaring rents and icky roaches. Eventually, she rented her own studio in a glassy doorman building in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, paying just under $3,000 a month.
Ms. Marsova, 28, grew up in Northern California and works in business development for pulsd, a platform that offers deals from local merchants. She wondered whether “something in my life would lead me to another city,” she said. “But I unconditionally love New York.”
So she decided to stop renting and get serious about buying, beginning her hunt a little more than a year ago with a focus on one-bedroom condominiums in Brooklyn priced from $600,000 to $800,000. A condo seemed more attainable than a co-op, with its daunting buying process and many rules.
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She checked out new buildings in various Brooklyn neighborhoods, and came close to buying a one-bedroom on the top floor of a boutique condo in East Williamsburg. But there were too many drawbacks: The sponsor was unwilling to negotiate on the hefty fees and taxes, and the building’s smart intercom system seemed unreliable. “The sponsor said there would be no issue with packages, but I wasn’t sure,” Ms. Marsova said.
Worse, the inspector noticed that water from the roof seemed to be leaking into the bedroom, and water from the bathroom was seeping into the bathroom below.
In general, Ms. Marsova feared construction flaws in a new development. “I started thinking none of these condos in Brooklyn were doing it for me,” she said.
In Manhattan, she could afford only a studio in a condo building. So she rethought her objections to a co-op.
“A condo is more investor-friendly,” she said. But she didn’t need an investment. She needed a home. So she turned her attention to one-bedroom co-ops in Manhattan.
One of her requirements was that the building offer a secure way to receive packages. And the apartment had to be in good condition. “I am not in a place in life where I have time to oversee a major renovation,” she said.
A previous apartment had been within easy walking distance of her SoHo office, allowing her to stop at home between work and post-work activities. (“My No. 1 hobby is New York itself,” she said.) So she hoped to find a location where walking to work was feasible. She rarely cooks, so she didn’t need fancy appliances.
Her concerns about infrastructure flaws led her to postwar (but not brand-new) buildings. In prewar buildings, she said, “the bones of the building were really old, like the pipes, and I didn’t want to run into those kinds of issues. I didn’t care about finding anything too unique or special.”
Among her options:
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