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If I had a million dollars...

I would buy an apartment in Manhattan.    

The never-ending search continues for the perfect co-op for less the one million dollars. Does perfection exist? The questions are as endless as the quest itself, but the hunt is part of the fun. It is also exhausting. Visiting four to seven apartments every Sunday during "open house" in different areas of the city is less than relaxing after a stressful workweek in the Big Apple.

The real estate rules in Manhattan are unique; there really are no rules. “We don’t like your teeth, so we don’t want you to live in our building.” “No pets by the way either, or at least no old, hairy, smelly dogs like yours.” “And we won’t mention your overweight cat, or the fact that your wife is not Jewish.”

There is the complete right to discriminate during the co-op board selection process. They can and they do. Most require a minimum of 25 percent down, with one to two years of mortgage and maintenance payments in the bank. Not going to happen; too many designer shoes in this world. I might mention that maintenance is usually at least $1.00 per square foot and often more. That would put a serious damper on my monthly shoe fund.

There is also the issue of space. Our budget doesn’t seem to permit much more than three rooms. And so it goes on. Each weekend, I rush to the door on Saturday morning for the NY Times real estate section. Every free moment is dedicated to scouring the web for new listings. Each viewing is more exciting than the last until we actually see it, and realize that it is just another dump--another million-dollar dump.

I am determined however that the perfect piece of Manhattan real estate is out there for my husband and me. It will allow pets. It will be quaint and very “Old New York” in a charming neighborhood. It will have a washer/dryer and bath large enough for two, and there will be sufficient closet space for my ever-growing New York wardrobe. And who knows? It may even be less than a million dollars.

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