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Sizing Up to a House in Jersey City: How Much Work Was Too Much?

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October 2020 was a big month for Emily Oppenheimer and Julian Agin Lieves. They married in the presence of a handful of close friends and family in a park in Jersey City, N.J. Neurologist Dr. Agin-Liebes was awarded a fellowship to Columbia University Irving Medical Center for his training. I know it has been placed. And armed with extra cash from a scaled-down pandemic wedding, the couple decided it was time to put down roots.

Oppenheimer, 35, and Dr. Agin Lieves, 34, moved to Jersey City from Harlem in 2017 and rented a two-bedroom downtown. They loved the building’s rooftop garden and proximity to the PATH train. Ms. Oppenheimer, a program manager at New York City’s Public Health Center, discovered her green thumb when she moved to New Jersey and took on the role of a building’s gardener. Then, due to the pandemic, communal spaces became restricted spaces, with hours scheduled in advance.

“As much as we loved to share, everyone became a little more exclusive about their time outdoors during Covid,” Dr. Agin-Liebes said. We shared one desk and worked from home.”

They wanted to find a home with some character, but were initially disappointed with what they found on a $750,000 budget. Too many examples of the so-called “Bayonne Box”, the bulky, often vinyl-covered high-rise apartments typical of Jersey City.Adjacent Bayonne, New Jersey

“There’s no shade, but it wasn’t what we wanted,” Ms. Oppenheimer said. “It has a garage, which is totally fine, but that’s all you can get in our price range.”

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Despite the convenience, they didn’t want to stay in downtown Jersey City, where it was starting to feel crowded. They wanted to eat out, shop around Jersey City Heights, visit their favorite bike shop, and view the Manhattan skyline from Riverview Fisk Park.

“We were like, ‘Why do you keep coming here to do what you want? Let’s consider living here,'” said Dr. Agin Lieves.

Through a mutual friend, they connected with Corcoran-Sawyer-Smith real estate agent Katrina Spiratos and spent months searching for homes in their price range with the right mix of features and outdoor space.

Among those options:

Find out what happened next by answering the following two questions:

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