Covid seemed as if it might have created similar market conditions, so he searched online to see if any developers were offering similar deals. As it turned out, his landlord, Magnum Real Estate Group, was offering rent-to-own programs on unsold units at two of its developments, 100 Barclay and 196 Orchard.
Both developments were luxurious, especially compared with the tenement apartment where they had been living, and Ms. Kimbro excitedly perused the buildings’ listings. She was taken with a two-bedroom apartment at 100 Barclay, in TriBeCa. But it was a bit too luxurious, with an asking price of about $3.6 million.
They settled, instead, on a one-bedroom with a large private terrace at 196 Orchard, a condo development on the Lower East Side that was completed in 2016 and is just around the corner from their old apartment.
$6,000 | Lower East Side
Michael Kimbro, 45, and Amanda Kimbro, 32
Rent to own: In the first six months of the lease, 75 percent of their rent will go toward the $1.6 million purchase price, the amount drops to 50 percent in the following six months.
Occupation: Mr. Kimbro runs an import business. Ms. Kimbro, who worked as a registered nurse in Houston, now runs several e-commerce businesses.
New York vs. Houston: “It’s a trade-off — 280 square feet is half the size of our garage in Houston,” Ms. Kimbro said. “On the other hand, in Houston it can take a couple of hours to grocery shop because of all the traffic.”
Missing pre-pandemic New York: “I miss shopping. Not buying, but I like looking at vintage shops, taxidermy stores, the fabric district, Chinese shops where they sell different stones,” Ms. Kimbro said.
Why the Lower East Side: “For years I stayed in touristy Midtown hotels, but once they were all booked for Fashion Week or something so I had to book down here. I liked that people in the bodegas would know you,” Mr. Kimbro said.
The apartment, listed for $1.6 million, rents for $6,000 a month furnished, with 75 percent of the rent going toward the purchase price in the first six months, and 50 percent in the next six months. If the couple decide not to buy the unit, they receive no money back and there is no option to renew.