Inwood family finds a new home in their own building
by Daniel P. Bader
Boxes, organized and labeled, are stacked in Karen Kunz’s dining room. She, her husband Billy and their two children, Ace, 4 and Salvatore, 1, are moving any day now. But no moving men will show up, no truck will double park outside waiting for their possessions.
The Kunz family, in fact, found their new home in the same building as their old apartment, 60 Cooper St. between W. 204th and W. 207th Streets in Inwood. The new place is just two floors up.
“We weren’t looking to move,” Karen said, sitting at the table in the dining foyer after settling Ace on the couch to watch cartoons. “[The apartment] became available and we began thinking about it.”
The Kunz family moved to Inwood from the Lower East Side in 2004.
“The spaces were big and pretty,” Karen said. “And the parks – we were starting our family.”
She and Billy also decided on Inwood because they saw the value of their investment.
“We definitely felt we weren’t overpaying. And there were other areas of the city where we thought we would,” Karen said. “I love the neighborhood. I think it’s a great place to raise kids. There’s a great community of friends, everybody knows everybody.”
The Kunzes were happy to stay in their 1,000-square-foot apartment, but then an opportunity arose. The growing family learned in January that a 1,265-square-foot apartment on the fourth floor was available and, in the midst of a housing crisis, decided to sell their two-bedroom apartment.
“We couldn’t buy it unless we sold our place,” Karen said, so they put their apartment on the market at a lower price to see what they could get.
“We needed to sell it for around $415,000,” she said. “It was a great deal at the time.”
Back then, she said, similar spaces were going for between $460,000 and $470,000. Almost right away the Kunzes got two bids.
What ensued was a juggling game between the two apartments.
“Before we accepted, we had to get our offer accepted up there,” Karen said, gesturing beyond the ceiling to the apartment upstairs. “It needed to get done simultaneously.”
Closing on an apartment takes a lot of paperwork – even more if you’re involved in a co-op building – and the Kunz family was in the middle of two closings.
“I definitely don’t recommend closing simultaneously,” Karen said, but at the time she and Billy decided to do it and see what would happen. Besides, this wasn’t their first time through the process, how hard could it be?
“I was wrong. I was so wrong,” Karen said. “I don’t think we realized the extent of what we were doing.”
Almost five months after they put their apartment on the market the Kunzes closed on the new apartment June 6. Since they completed the sale of their old apartment a few weeks ago, they have been renting it from the new owners. The Kuntzes declined to name the exact prices of the transactions, but Karen said they did get the minimum $415,000 sale price they needed in order to move.
Ace, wearing his personalized Crocs and carrying a box of crackers, points to each button in the elevator explaining where his house is (second floor) and where the new apartment is (fourth floor).
“This is the dining foyer and it’s laid out much better,” Karen says, stepping inside. Ace points out the dining room, a space with two doors, one from the kitchen and the other from the dining foyer. This will be the boys’ playroom, but can also be a bedroom when the two boys get older.
“We also have more windows,” Karen said, peering down at the street.
In the hallway near the front door is a lighted walk-in closet. The floors, walls, wiring – everything has been redone in the apartment. One neat feature is that all of the closets have lights that turn on when the door is opened. But Karen’s favorite part of the new apartment is the second bathroom and shower off the master bedroom.
“The extra toilet was key,” she explained.
All that’s left is to finish packing and move everything upstairs. But they’ll have to share the elevator – the buyers of their apartment also live in the building.
The Manhattan Times is the bilingual newspaper of Washington Heights and Inwood.