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Old 02-10-2014, 02:22 AM
 
6 posts, read 35,885 times
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Wow, this is great! Thanks everyone. I truly appreciate the time and feedback.
Didn't mean to restart an apparent northeast vs northwest Westchester war though!

We will definitely narrow our search to northern (as opposed to southern) Westchester. A quick property search of Edgemont doesn't yield any 2 acre properties in my budget. Based on the comments, I also think northern Westchester would be a better fit for my family. I'll be commuting to Hong Kong every few months, so again the train won't help.

Ridgefield might also be a consideration after more research.

I chose Westchester because of the proximity to Jersey, but I also have a couple of ties there. I have a friend who bought a million dollar home in Briarcliff Manor, but learned later that he is zoned for Ossining schools. He is now paying Briarcliff property taxes and Catholic schooling for two. Hence, my detailed process. My father lives in Croton on Hudson, but as a retiree and doesn't know much about the schools, community, etc.

I should have also mentioned earlier that I am interested in newer construction.

Finally, besides my affluent vs. snooty dilemma, I also have to balance my desire for green, beautiful openness and privacy with my wife's city upbringing. So, it seems the top choices are Katonah, Briarcliff (proper), Bedford Village, Chappaqua, Pleasantville and Croton. Seems like Pound Ridge and Lewisboro might be too rural for my wife at this time.

Thank you all again so much!
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Old 02-10-2014, 05:14 AM
 
Location: East Millcreek
2,406 posts, read 5,249,858 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HK2NY View Post
Wow, this is great! Thanks everyone. I truly appreciate the time and feedback.
Didn't mean to restart an apparent northeast vs northwest Westchester war though!

We will definitely narrow our search to northern (as opposed to southern) Westchester. A quick property search of Edgemont doesn't yield any 2 acre properties in my budget. Based on the comments, I also think northern Westchester would be a better fit for my family. I'll be commuting to Hong Kong every few months, so again the train won't help.

Ridgefield might also be a consideration after more research.

I chose Westchester because of the proximity to Jersey, but I also have a couple of ties there. I have a friend who bought a million dollar home in Briarcliff Manor, but learned later that he is zoned for Ossining schools. He is now paying Briarcliff property taxes and Catholic schooling for two. Hence, my detailed process. My father lives in Croton on Hudson, but as a retiree and doesn't know much about the schools, community, etc.

I should have also mentioned earlier that I am interested in newer construction.

Finally, besides my affluent vs. snooty dilemma, I also have to balance my desire for green, beautiful openness and privacy with my wife's city upbringing. So, it seems the top choices are Katonah, Briarcliff (proper), Bedford Village, Chappaqua, Pleasantville and Croton. Seems like Pound Ridge and Lewisboro might be too rural for my wife at this time.

Thank you all again so much!
Understand that anyplace actually zoned for 2 acres will have a more rural feel than the odd acre lot in an area that's predominantly less, say 1 acre. Understand too that Katonah and Bedford Village are both in the town of Bedford and indistinguishable once you get outside of the immediate downtown areas. Same goes for Bedford Hills. And, there's a significant are of Pound Ridge bordering Bedford Village along Rt 172 or down Long Ridge Rd that's similarly indistinguishable. There are parts of Pound Ridge that are less isolated than other parts of Bedford. My point is not to get too hung up on the name of the town itself. Look for the house and property that appeals to you.

BTW, once you actually start driving around you'll wonder why you ever had Pleasantville or Croton on your list.

Last edited by kletter1mann; 02-10-2014 at 05:22 AM.. Reason: clarity
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Old 02-10-2014, 07:36 AM
 
6 posts, read 35,885 times
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Can anyone recommend the best realty company/agent to work with?
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Old 02-10-2014, 07:40 AM
 
Location: Katonah
83 posts, read 140,730 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HK2NY View Post
I don't have to commute into the city, so proximity to Manhattan is not critical.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dma1250 View Post
Everyone needs a train if they want an easy way to get into the city without have to drive and find parking, which most people want to do on a regular basis. And Croton has a great schedule and a shorter ride than many towns a lot further south.

I'm not sure dma reads the OP's comments. No, not everyone needs a train. Read above. And even after someone made a comment, he still comes back and says, "Everyone needs a train!"
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Old 02-10-2014, 07:49 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,830 posts, read 26,413,762 times
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Please stay on topic as this is a specific thread for an OP. You are free to debate the differences in Westchester in an appropriate general thread. Bickering does not help the OP find a town. Thank you.
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Last edited by bmwguydc; 02-10-2014 at 09:05 AM.. Reason: Edits from phone post
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:17 AM
 
6,993 posts, read 9,537,119 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HK2NY View Post
I have a friend who bought a million dollar home in Briarcliff Manor, but learned later that he is zoned for Ossining schools. He is now paying Briarcliff property taxes and Catholic schooling for two.
For what it's worth, I have a coworker who recently moved a 3 acre house in a subdivision in Briarcliff (Ossining schools) from Mamaroneck who told me that there was a growting number of people who work in Manhattan and moving to Ossining - the reputation of the schools notwithstanding. It's one of the fewer areas where you might actually see a fair amount of price appreciation if you buy at a low price. His neighbor there put up a house for sale for about $450K and it was snapped up immediately. That said, I would not recommend paying more than $1m in Ossining. Maybe half that price.

The same goes for some of the other areas brought up here like Croton. They are OK areas in and of themselves but if you pay more than a million for a house there your property could easily be on the upper end of the price range for the neighborhood and difficult to sell when you want to. Would not recommend plopping more than a million bucks in Croton unless you envision yourself as a gentrifyer. Maybe $600K max would be acceptable.

Croton-on-Hudson Home Prices and Home Values - Zillow

With the price range you stated I think Pound Ridge would be one of the top choices. You are no more or less isolated there than anywhere else that is not within a village. And the area does attract a market of buyers looking within your price range so the value of your home should fit right in.

Pound Ridge Home Prices and Home Values - Zillow

A couple of nice things I found about PR (too bad I couldn't make the commute work for me): (a) even a 1.5 acre property there feels like living in 4 acres for some reason and (b) driving around the area looks like scenes taken out of a John Adams biography.

There are lots of $1m+ homes in Chappaqua also but note that Chap has a high number of people who work in Wall St. and big law and that has an overall impact in the culture of the area. If you don't need the convenient commute to NYC or be around such people, I don't see why you have to live here.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:27 AM
 
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Great points.
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,830 posts, read 26,413,762 times
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The Census American Fact Finder address search will give you information on any property under consideration, so you know where it is located with respect to town, and schools: http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/...es/index.xhtml

Ossining was a middle-class suburb that had flight due to desegregation orders with respect to the school system, which is the same issue that occurred in Yonkers. Until the order was put into place, the area was divided on economic lines, not racially, despite the profile of the schools, but to comply with federal law, an order was issued, and formerly desired schools suffered from achievement gaps and performance issues, even in the more expensive parts of town. That has kept prices lower, and many who live there do tend to use private schools, not unlike areas of Yonkers, though Yonkers has two magnet schools that are excellent, if a student passes the entrance exam.
__________________
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.
~William Shakespeare
(As You Like It Act II, Scene VII)

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Old 02-10-2014, 09:06 AM
 
Location: East Millcreek
2,406 posts, read 5,249,858 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forest_Hills_Daddy View Post
For what it's worth, I have a coworker who recently moved a 3 acre house in a subdivision in Briarcliff (Ossining schools) from Mamaroneck who told me that there was a growting number of people who work in Manhattan and moving to Ossining - the reputation of the schools notwithstanding. It's one of the fewer areas where you might actually see a fair amount of price appreciation if you buy at a low price. His neighbor there put up a house for sale for about $450K and it was snapped up immediately. That said, I would not recommend paying more than $1m in Ossining. Maybe half that price.

The same goes for some of the other areas brought up here like Croton. They are OK areas in and of themselves but if you pay more than a million for a house there your property could easily be on the upper end of the price range for the neighborhood and difficult to sell when you want to. Would not recommend plopping more than a million bucks in Croton unless you envision yourself as a gentrifyer. Maybe $600K max would be acceptable.

Croton-on-Hudson Home Prices and Home Values - Zillow

With the price range you stated I think Pound Ridge would be one of the top choices. You are no more or less isolated there than anywhere else that is not within a village. And the area does attract a market of buyers looking within your price range so the value of your home should fit right in.

Pound Ridge Home Prices and Home Values - Zillow

A couple of nice things I found about PR (too bad I couldn't make the commute work for me): (a) even a 1.5 acre property there feels like living in 4 acres for some reason and (b) driving around the area looks like scenes taken out of a John Adams biography.

There are lots of $1m+ homes in Chappaqua also but note that Chap has a high number of people who work in Wall St. and big law and that has an overall impact in the culture of the area. If you don't need the convenient commute to NYC or be around such people, I don't see why you have to live here.
^^^That. What he said. All of it.

I'd only add to FHD's comments on Chappaqua culture. Quite so. PR is certainly more eclectic, lots of entrepreneurs and creative types, fewer commuters and financial types (though by no means none). Also lots of weekend homes for Manhattanites. It therefore has much less of the "suburb" vibe than the other towns mentioned. Whether that's good or bad for you I can't say.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Westchester, NY
5 posts, read 44,391 times
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Default Lower Westchester

I feel I must speak up regarding lower Westchester. In your budget you can find something quite nice in lower Westchester as well, with convenience to the city and a good selection of schools.
As a Westchester realtor, yesterday I showed several houses in Scarsdale, a few where in the $1.5 range with pools (not everything is always on MLS), and they were on over .6 of an acre.
In the past when I have had clients looking for something on larger parcels and we go to see the properties in Northern Westchester, the two acres they dreamed of are not flat or useable for the most part, and they realize they only need a large patio to entertain adults , and a nice area for the kids to play, well under 2 acres. Also if travel a lot your wife might want the security of neighbors. It turns out most are not willing to give up the schools and convenience of lower Westchester to add on a wooded yard. In your price range it is not necessary to go that far to get what you are looking for. Scarsdale, also has a growing Chinese population, I wish there was some way to pull up some statistic, but I think your wife might enjoy having several Chinese friends as well as American ones if she is new to the area.
Places I tell my clients to look to help them decide on an area is to read the high school report card which is published every spring in Westchester Magazine. I am sure you can search this on line. Sometimes seeing the SAT scores puts a lot in perspective.
If you were here I would also tell you to visit the Starbucks or coffee shops in every town ( I used to say go to the library's but unfortunately I don't think they are as highly trafficked as the Starbucks are), and see what kind of people are living in each community and where you think you would fit in the best.
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