For years, Forrest Peralta traveled so often for work that he almost never slept at his rental in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where he paid $1,400 a month for his half of a two-bedroom.
Last spring, as Covid-19 overtook the city, his roommate moved back home to Westchester. “I am trying to move to the next chapter of life,” said Mr. Peralta, 29, a project manager for a consulting firm near Grand Central Terminal. “I felt like I was throwing money away renting.”
As the pandemic progressed, he said, “I wanted something secure. I travel a lot, so being rooted somewhere is important to me.”
Mr. Peralta, who grew up in northern New Jersey and went to college in Boston, was hoping to spend around $300,000 on a co-op or condominium unit. “I had accumulated enough for a down payment, but I wanted to be frugal,” he said. “I am definitely cost-conscious.”
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He began his hunt last spring in Manhattan, looking for a place with views and sunshine, to see what his budget would buy. One rectangular studio on a high floor in a Midtown co-op — for $285,000, with monthly maintenance of around $1,000 — was in estate condition, needing a gut renovation.
“That was one of the cheapest apartments in Manhattan, and it felt like I would have been living in a tenement,” Mr. Peralta said. And he didn’t relish the idea of renovating during a pandemic.
So he contacted a high school friend, Dana Stephenson, an associate broker at the Hoboken office of Brown Harris Stevens, telling her that he didn’t think he would find the right place in the city. He wanted easy access to Manhattan, but also a place with “a less intense pace of life.”
The Hudson River waterfront in New Jersey, with its spectacular views, seemed just right.
“His home search was not an extensive process,” Ms. Stephenson said, “because he was coming to the end of his lease and was in a hurry.”
Among his options:
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