They Wanted a House in the City for $1 Million. Would They Find It in Brooklyn or Queens?

A pair of newlyweds dreamed of a three-bedroom house with a grassy yard for their dog and a reasonable commute to Manhattan. Here's what they found.

They Wanted a House in the City for $1 Million. Would They Find It in Brooklyn or Queens?

Danielle McCullough, a native of Baltimore, moved to East Harlem in Manhattan shortly before Covid struck. Dr. McCullough is from Baltimore and said, 'It was like home'. There are things that remind me of home, especially being with other people who look like you.

She rented a two-bedroom apartment with two bathrooms for $3,400 per month. It had room for her dog Penny and guests. She spent eight years living in Upper East Side hospitals, as both a medical student studying anesthesiology and as a resident.

Dr. McCullough was in a new relationship, also with Lorne, who she met online. She said, 'It's funny, we were two people who looked very different in the paper and yet, somehow, we had this deep connection.

Mr. Behrman (48), a musician from California and copywriter, was divorced since several years. He was paying $1,750 per month to rent in Midwood, Brooklyn.

He said, 'I felt lost, to be honest. I was trying to figure my life out. I knew Danielle would be the one. The two of them got married last year after he (and Numi, his cat) joined her in East Harlem.

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As Dr. McCullough grew up, her family was forced to move around a lot because money was scarce. She said that she wanted to be able to own a home that was secure and that made her feel successful.

She said that last spring, while working as an obstetricanesthesiologist on the overnight shift, she had a 'aha' moment and realized she and Mr. Behrman could afford to buy a house. The couple briefly considered Westchester where M. Behrman’s daughter, a teenager, lives with her mom, but it didn't feel like the right place.

Behrman then called James M. Armstrong - a friend of his and a salesman for the Corcoran Group. Armstrong stated that the couple was overwhelmed and pessimistic. Danielle was pre-approved for physician mortgages, which allow for low down payments. I knew that they were in a good position.

The couple had a budget up to $1.2m and wanted to find a house with three bedrooms 'where we can spread out, make noise, and be a whole family', Mr. Behrman explained. They also wanted a yard for their dog, and to have a short commute to Dr. McCullough’s Upper East Side Hospital by public transport.