You’re going to “Full Suburb”: Upsizing Couple Leave Brooklyn to New Jersey. Which of these houses did they choose?


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Just before the pandemic hit this spring, Johnny Cruz and his girlfriend Diana Yarmovich moved into a modern one-bedroom rental in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

Mr. Cruz was already working remotely, but they both had a hard time when Mrs. Yarmovich also started working from home. They exchanged places between the desk in the bedroom and the kitchen table. Their rent reached $ 3,200 per month.

With attractively low mortgage rates, they decided to buy a house, but they knew they couldn’t afford Brooklyn. In addition, it was difficult to hunt in the city. “All personal demonstrations have been turned off,” said Ms. Yarmovich. “The starting point was to New Jersey, where you were released for private performances.”

New Jersey, where they both grew up, came in handy because friends began to move there. “We made an inventory of our friends and realized that we had reached the age when it happened,” said Ms. Yarmovich, 37, who works for a legal technology company. Mr. Cruz, 35, works for the data center.

[Did you recently buy or rent a home in the New York metro area? We want to hear from you. Email: thehunt@nytimes.com]

The couple visited an attic loft in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, about 20 miles west of Manhattan. With two stories, 1,800 square feet and a small courtyard, it felt like a house. They made an offer, but were overcome.

“We were at a crossroads,” said Mrs. Yarmovich. “It was, ‘Let’s go over our money and buy a house.’ We wanted more space, especially if we wanted to be at home all the time. ”

The two did not always agree. She wanted something manageable. He wanted to decompose.

“Going from a small apartment, I didn’t want marginal upgrades,” Mr. Cruz said. “I wanted to go all over the suburbs.” This meant a large kitchen, home office space and parking for three cars.

“My biggest criterion was the limited appeal that Johnny didn’t get at all,” Ms. Yarmovich said. “It was more about functionality.” Johnny cared more about bones and guts. “

Mr. Cruz wasn’t even sure what the curb meant. One modern house had a “polarizing exterior,” he said. The kitchen fascinated him, while she hated the contemporary, angular one outside.

In their price range, for $ 600,000, the competition was fierce, “probably caused by people like us fleeing the city because of the pandemic,” Ms. Yarmovich said. Most of the houses were undervalued, which accelerated the auction of wars. The pair usually had a 30-minute slot for each visit and had to submit the best and highest bid during the days. One house had 14 offers.

“Real estate is undervalued, but it’s obvious, it’s noticeable,” said their broker Robert Kohrs, owner of the Garden State Realty Group in Hoboken. “If you know the game, you know the offer will increase.”

Among their options:

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