This Lawyerly Lair is on a pleasant, tree-lined block in Chelsea (click to enlarge).

No, we’re not talking about “law clerk” as in judge’s aide. It’s hard to afford a seven-figure home on a public servant’s salary. We’re talking about “law clerk” as in someone who’s working at a law firm, essentially as an associate, but is not yet an admitted attorney in the jurisdiction.

This “law clerk” and his partner, also a law school graduate, just picked up a spacious Manhattan co-op for a little under $1.7 million. Their housing hunt was chronicled in the pages of the New York Times. Let’s read more about them, and check out the place they finally chose….

Meet Daniel Brass and Craig Manson. They’re both lawyers by training, with law degrees from British Universities. Brass, a graduate of Cambridge who worked at London’s super-elite Slaughter & May for more than six years, is now a law clerk at Davis Polk. Manson works for a health care information company. They are rather cute (or perhaps I should say “fit,” since they’re Brits).

Brass and Manson moved to New York from London a little under two years ago. After spending time in a “small and dark” rental, they decided it was time to buy. As they told Joyce Cohen of The Hunt, they sought “a two-bedroom two-bath with a large living area and some outdoor space in a nice neighborhood.” Their budget started at $1.3 million.

My dears, you can’t find that kind of place — at least not on the island of Manhattan, below 96th Street — for $1.3 million. Not surprisingly, as the Times reports, their budget grew “to $1.5 million and beyond.”

They offered $1.52 million for a Chelsea two-bedroom but lost out to another buyer. They offered $1.575 million for a duplex on West 23rd Street, but the seller got cold feet. They offered $1.35 million for a condo in the West 40s, and their offer was accepted, but then they got cold feet. They flirted with Brooklyn but backed out — again after making an offer that got accepted. It sounds like their agent, Jeanine LeNy of Bond New York, was a model of patience.

Finally, fortune smiled on the couple:

At last, just a block from their Chelsea rental, a three-bedroom came available in a well-kept building on a pretty side street. It was listed at $1.695 million, with monthly maintenance in the low $1,900s. This one had a view of a neighbor’s garden and access to a landscaped roof deck.

“It had a spacious sense to it,” Mr. Manson said. “You didn’t feel you were seeing everything as soon as you opened the door, but you weren’t being enclosed in a labyrinth.” The third bedroom was “that extra room we weren’t expecting to get.”

Both were certain they wanted it — and both assumed they would again be out-negotiated by others. This time, though, they were wrong. They bought the place for $1.66 million and arrived in winter.

Three bedrooms and two bathrooms for under $1.7 million is a pretty good deal. Some might find the monthly charges, at $1,950, a bit high — but since this is a co-op, that amount includes taxes (and is partly tax-deductible).

What did these gents get for their money? Let’s take a look….


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