Ariana Moini in her new Manhattan apartment. She wanted a quicker commute to her job in SoHo and laundry in the building, and could comfortably pay up to $2,800 a month. Katherine Marks for The New York Times

Ariana Moini was living up in Manhattan Valley and working down in SoHo when she decided it was time to move.

Ms. Moini, 24, had arrived in New York in 2017 to study biomedical engineering at Columbia University, and chose her sunny one-bedroom with its tiny bathroom and sporadic heat because it was close to school. She paid just under $2,700 a month. When she started a job last year at a SoHo medical-device company, she found the 40-minute commute exhausting.

She stuck it out long enough to finish her graduate degree this summer, then started looking for a studio or one-bedroom closer to her job. “I had no reason to stay up there,” she said.

First she visited a handful of apartments she found listed on StreetEasy, but found that “the apartments looked completely different than the pictures they posted,” she said.

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Needing help, Ms. Moini found Mahsa Taghdisi Jani, a licensed saleswoman at Keller Williams TriBeCa. One requirement was laundry in the building, which Ms. Moini didn’t want to give up. “Even though my old building wasn’t a luxury building or in a luxury area, it had a laundry and it made my life easier,” she said. “Coming to New York and realizing how few apartments have laundry was alarming.”

She could comfortably pay up to $2,800 a month. Less, she figured, wouldn’t suffice for a suitably nice home. And she hoped to avoid a broker’s fee, which she learned was common in the city, but not inevitable.

So Ms. Taghdisi Jani showed her only no-fee buildings, where broker’s fees are paid by the building management. She also made sure that Ms. Moini was prepared with all of the documents she would need.

“If I came across a place, I could immediately put my name down,” Ms. Moini said. “Mahsa wanted to make sure I got the place that I wanted.”

Among her choices:

No. 1

Theater District One-Bedroom

Katherine Marks for The New York Times

This apartment on the second floor of a four-story brick building had an exposed brick wall, a small bedroom and a small closet. It included not just a dishwasher, microwave and wine cooler in the kitchen, but a washer-dryer in the bathroom.

The closest subway was four blocks away, making the commute around 25 minutes. The rent was $2,795.

Theater District One-Bedroom Courtesy of 9300 Realty

No. 2

Financial District Studio

Katherine Marks for The New York Times

This landmarked tower opened in 1931 as the City Bank-Farmers Trust Building. A sunny studio had built-in shelving and a huge closet, with nice appliances and a large bathroom - and there were several studios available. Seven laundry rooms were scattered throughout the building.

It was two blocks from the nearest subway, for a 15-minute commute. The rent was $2,795.

Financial District Studio 20Exchange

No. 3

Midtown East Studio

Katherine Marks for The New York Times

This studio in a 20-story, 1959 co-op building with a laundry room came furnished, with utilities included. It had plenty of closets, built-in shelving and a large private patio.

The subway was three blocks away, for a 25-minute commute. The rent was $2,600.

Midtown East Studio (virtually staged) Audrey Henderson/Citi Habitats

Find out what happened next by answering these two questions:

Which Would You Choose?

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Theater District One-Bedroom

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Financial District Studio

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Midtown East Studio

Which Did She Choose?

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Theater District One-Bedroom

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Financial District Studio

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Midtown East Studio