Seeking a West Village Rental for Less Than $3,000. Which Option Did She Choose?

Amanda Dauber headed to New York straight from college.

“New York is the only city where I could see myself,” said Ms. Dauber, 27, who grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa. “Most of my college friends were planning to move to New York, and it was close enough to home.”

She roomed with two friends on the Lower East Side, in a three-bedroom condo unit that had belonged to her late grandfather and now belongs to her aunt. After three years, when Covid altered the city, all three roommates returned to their parents’ homes.

Ms. Dauber, who works in human resources, hoped to find a pandemic deal on a new rental. “I would be living alone for the first time,” she said, “so I was nervous about that.”

But listings were abundant and relatively cheap. “The world was my oyster, and it was a renter’s market, a million percent.”

She landed a charming one-bedroom with a home office and an eat-in kitchen on a tree-lined West Village street, paying $2,500 a month. And she planned to stay there, until she learned that her rent was about to jump to $4,200, and her landlord wouldn’t negotiate. So in the spring, she went on the hunt for a place she could afford — up to $3,000 a month.

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“I am a pretty Type A person,” Ms. Dauber said. “I like to plan ahead and picture what the next few months of my life will look like, and you can’t do that until you know where your home base will be.”

She wanted a charming studio or one-bedroom in the West Village, with enough space for a computer monitor and a laptop.

The last time around, there had been plenty of places to see, with offers of several months free and no broker fees. This time, there was little inventory, and the apartments that were available didn’t come with any discounts — in fact, there were hefty fees attached. New listings would be rented inside of a day. So she had little time to make a decision.

Among her options:

Find out what happened next by answering these two questions:

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