1BR, Murray Hill
Tue Apr 26 2011
Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson
Sarah W., 23, investment banking analyst
Broker's fee: about 15% ($3,800)
Broker: Morgan Turkewitz, Citi Habitats (516-314-6309, citi-habitats.com, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Moved in: March 2011
The search: "I had started looking for a large studio or a one-bedroom with a doorman, but as I got further into the process, I realized I wanted a walk-up. I had wanted a doorman—not for security reasons, but, because I work late, for things like packages, laundry and whatnot. But none of the apartments I was looking at had the character that I wanted: prewar apartments with details like exposed brick and working fireplaces, that make them less cookie-cutter than those high-rises that have the amenities like a doorman, fitness center or whatever it is."
The area: "I looked mostly in Gramercy, Murray Hill, Chelsea, Union Square. I didn't want to go south of Union Square and I didn't want to go north of 35th Street. I noticed that the apartments in Chelsea were smaller and a little bit more run-down than the ones in Murray Hill, [which] seemed more up-to-date—you're talking about a modern kitchen, new appliances, bathrooms. [The prices in] Murray Hill and Chelsea were comparable, though you might get a little more space in Murray Hill. Union Square wasn't that dissimilar to the Murray Hill area, but Union Square is such a popular area, there's obviously a price differential."
The broker: "The decision to move out was made very quickly, and I didn't have a whole lot of time to find a new place: The time span was three weeks. I knew that in order to make it happen I would need to have a broker who understood me and could work very quickly with me. Morgan was recommended to me by my friend. I gave her a list of my criteria and she was unbelievably responsive. I didn't even expect to speak to her when I first dialed her number, but I got through and she immediately said, 'What are you looking for? What area? What is your price range?' And she sent me listings in the next half hour. She's also responsive at night. For example, I contacted her this past Friday at about 8:30 or 9pm, and she responded within 15 minutes."
The apartment: "It's a walk-up and there are only three apartments in the entire building. It's a prewar building with exposed brick, beautiful dark-wood floors and really nice dark-wood ceilings, which I had never seen before. That was unbelievably unique. The kitchen looks brand-new, it has a brand-new wine fridge, which stuck out to me immediately. The bathroom has a tub [with] a shower, it's nicely tiled, and the kitchen is nicely tiled, too—all the other apartments I had seen had generic white tiles with white Formica countertops. This had a marble-ish look to it and [it's] a bit more rustic. It has a working fireplace and a really beautiful marble mantle."