From Queens House to Manhattan Studio for $400,000. Which one did you choose?

Not long after getting married six years ago, Ayan Chatterjee and David Krause bought their first home together: a two-story brick townhouse in 1998. In 1920 in Ridgewood, Queens, they completely renovated it.

As time went on, the two “got an itch to get out of town,” Mr. Chatterjee said, and began traveling to the Catskills. “At some point, when you hit your 30s, it’s not as much fun in town every weekend.”

The couple, both now 35, were so excited about renovating their Queens home that they bought a fix-up farmhouse three hours north in Greene County for about $250,000. They added a chicken coop and a pool.

“It’s a beautiful house, but it’s old and needs a lot of work,” Mr. Chatterjee said. The minute you open the walls, you’ll find problems.

They refer to their contractor as their “superfather” – when something happens, he comes to the rescue.

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Back in the city during the outbreak, the couple felt trapped in their townhouse with a small concrete balcony. “This was our only breath of fresh air,” said Mr Chatterjee.

His production job at MSNBC was completely remote, and Mr. Krause, the founder of a vegan skin care company, always worked from home. So they sold the Ridgewood house and moved to the Catskills with Levi the dog, where they would get a hotel room when they visited the town or when Mr. Chatterjee went to the office. They found it fun to try hotels in different neighborhoods – but living out of a suitcase was exhausting.

So last summer, the couple checked out Manhattan’s rental market, even as they heard horror stories about rising rents. One day, while browsing online, Mr. Krause mistakenly clicked on “for sale” listings and found surprisingly low prices. For a small pie-à-terre, buying seemed like a better deal than renting. “There was no need to be more than a place to sleep and bathe,” he said.

The couple can afford up to $400,000 for a hotel room of their own. They searched the West Side area – to Mr. Chatterjee’s office in Rockefeller Center and to Penn Station, for the train station.

They knew they wouldn’t get much more than a studio in a co-ed building. In their price range, so-called one-bedrooms were typically studios with some temporary sleeping space.

For help, they contacted a friend, Sumi Vatsa, an associate broker at Compass, who sold the Ridgewood townhouse. “It was to make the best hotel room,” Ms Vatsa said.

Among their options are:

Find out what happened next by answering these two questions:

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