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Eight Happy Stories From the Recession

Orlando Díaz, veterinarian
WHAT HE BOUGHT: A two-bedroom duplex with parking at a new development in Williamsburg.
PRICE: Just under $720,000.
“I’d been looking for two years,” says Díaz. “Everybody kept saying this was the time to buy, [but] I was worried about my business, that it would be affected because of the economy,” and in fact he says he got the cold shoulder from some lenders. After realizing he wanted no less than two bedrooms and a parking spot, he revised his budget from the original $500,000 to somewhere in the low $700,000s, and just found a place with his broker, Century 21's Stefanie Gee, not far from his practice. (The developers had been asking originally asked $775,000 but he negotiated the price down to just under $720,000. He’s in contract now, and waiting to close—though the building has turned part-rental, causing a couple of glitches in mortgage financing. All the same, he’s happy: “It’s one block from the train; it’s got parking and a back yard,” he says. “We have two cats, and that’s nice for them. And we can barbecue!”

Alicia Nelson, advertising-sales rep
WHAT SHE BOUGHT: A one-bedroom co-op in Gramercy Park.
PRICE: Just under $500,000.
Nelson had been saving up for years, setting money aside and ignoring it, with the goal of buying before the age of 30. Light and exposures were important, as was a doorman, and she wanted to spend no more than $550,000. She’d begun her hunt in September 2008, but after the economy took a dive, “there were definitely periods when I questioned whether it was a smart thing to do.” Her open house visits slowed; she wanted “more and more for less and less.” But by last fall, she decided she had found her moment. That’s when she found the apartment: It was on the fifteenth floor, bright and sunny. It was priced at $570,000, so she put in a lowball bid, but was rejected. So she moved on, bidding on another place nearby—something she liked but not loved. Big mistake: Every time she visited it, “my excitement diminished.” Then her broker, Halstead’s Alan Krevis, called, saying the sellers for the other apartment were willing to talk once more. After “calling in reinforcements”—her family—she decided to go for it. She withdrew her offer from the other place, and bought this one instead, striking a deal a tiny bit south of $500,000. And at the age of 29—one year shy of her self-imposed deadline.


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