Studio, Upper East Side

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  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

Photograph: Jolie Ruben

Kelly Dye, 30, creative coordinator at an advertising agency
Rent:
$1,500
Broker's fee: None
Broker: None
Moved in: March 2011

The search: "Craigslist was my main search tool. I think the worst place I looked at was a stereotypical tenement-style, shower-in-the-kitchen apartment. Washing my hair while flipping eggs isn't exactly on my bucket list. Ultimately, I found my place through a coworker who was moving out to live with her fianc."

The area: "I chose the area mainly for convenience and price. I knew that the Upper East Side is one of the most affordable parts of Manhattan, and the area is super close to the bus or train that I use to get to work. There are tons of cool bars and restaurants near my apartment, and they were definitely a factor in my decision. I love the fact that Southern Hospitality [1460 Second Ave between 76th and 77th Sts; 212-249-1001, southernhospitalitybbq.com] and Brother Jimmy's [1485 Second Ave between 77th and 78th Sts; 212-288-0999, brotherjimmys.com] are both just a few blocks away—gotta represent my Texas roots."

The best thing: "My favorite feature of the apartment is the large private patio. It was definitely the selling feature. Being from Texas, I really missed having outdoor BBQs, and now I can have them anytime I want."

The apartment: "The ceilings are very high with crown molding at the top, and there is one exposed-brick wall. I decorated the space pretty modern. The centerpiece of the living room is my comfy sectional couch. I was so happy that my bar fit perfectly in the kitchen."

The takeaway: "Unless you have an endless cash flow, don't set your expectations too high. Pick an area that you want to live in, and set a realistic budget; it's much easier to search in one area than to traipse across the city. There are deals to be found, but you have to be patient and do your homework. Don't wait around. If you find a great deal, jump on it—because if you don't, someone else will."

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