Ryan Michele Woods and Jeffrey Lee Woods rented a two-bedroom apartment in a two-family house in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, across from Green-Wood Cemetery for a dozen years.
The downstairs unit had a deck and a paved back yard. “Our landlords haven’t increased our rent” – $ 2,100 per month – “as long as we kept pace with the improvements,” said Ms. Woods.
When Isaac, now 5, was born, the couple added a makeshift wall to separate the main bedroom alcove. When they had to find room for Ruby, they moved their own bedrooms into the office off the kitchen.
They suffered from the noise of the environment and a tin shop behind them. “We could see the future,” said Woods. It was loud and claustrophobic – and that was before the pandemic hit.
It was time to find a new home, preferably a house with plenty of space and layout for a family of four and pets, plus a yard and parking space.
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Ms. Woods, 41, grew up on Staten Island, attended college in Boston, and returned to Brooklyn. She is now an English teacher at the same Park Slope Middle School she attended, where her mother taught. Through a mutual friend, she met 52-year-old Florida-born Mr. Woods, who joined the Coast Guard at a young age and later worked in film.
With a budget of up to $ 700,000, they knew their new home would not be near Windsor Terrace. Over time, they’d watched elderly residents die, investors flip homes, and buyers arriving from other parts of Brooklyn. “The middle class has been evicted,” said Ms. Woods.
So they headed south to find something they could afford. Among their options:
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