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Old 02-10-2014, 10:55 AM
 
Location: East Millcreek
2,406 posts, read 5,249,858 times
Reputation: 2691

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Quote:
Originally Posted by born4shop View Post
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.
OMG, here we go again. You gotta be kidding. Too many absurdities here to enumerate, but here's a start:
  • A $1.5mm house in Scarsdale is going to be a dump compared to what the money buys farther north. And taxes will be far higher too.
  • A useable yard, play area and deck don't require 2 acres. However, less space will absolutely NOT do fine if it's privacy and peace that you're after. You can't get the solitude of 2 (or 3 or more) acres on less land, just not happening.
  • Westchester magazine surveys are the most absurd rubbish ever printed. suggesting that you need to go downcounty to get good schools is absurd, misleading, and incorrect.
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Old 02-11-2014, 05:37 AM
 
Location: Armonk NY
425 posts, read 955,050 times
Reputation: 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by kletter1mann View Post
OMG, here we go again. You gotta be kidding. Too many absurdities here to enumerate, but here's a start:
  • A $1.5mm house in Scarsdale is going to be a dump compared to what the money buys farther north. And taxes will be far higher too.
  • A useable yard, play area and deck don't require 2 acres. However, less space will absolutely NOT do fine if it's privacy and peace that you're after. You can't get the solitude of 2 (or 3 or more) acres on less land, just not happening.
  • Westchester magazine surveys are the most absurd rubbish ever printed. suggesting that you need to go downcounty to get good schools is absurd, misleading, and incorrect.
Right on Kletter1mann!
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Old 02-13-2014, 05:36 AM
 
6 posts, read 35,885 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forest_Hills_Daddy View Post
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kletter1mann View Post
^^^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.
This is great and two very important points that I really didn't fully consider until you guys brought them up.

First, only two homes sold in Croton last year for over $800K. Even if I landed what I'm looking for, I'm sure the resale will be a problem. For buyers looking to spend $1 million+ in Westchester, Croton is not their first choice.

The second critical factor is the culture and community. These neighbors will be our friends and our children's friends. They will have a major impact on my family. I am not a banker or Wall Street type. I'm an entrepreneur. I wear jeans to work, not designer suits. And while we like to have nice things and drive nice cars, we don't do it for show and we never look down on anyone. In fact we spend every Thanksgiving donating turkeys and every Christmas in a homeless shelter. It is very important to me to be surrounded by people with the same values. I want my children influenced by people like these, not those that get a BMW at 16.

This was very helpful and seemingly narrowed down my choices to Katonah, Bedford, Lewisboro and PR (not getting caught up in the town names as kletter1mann suggested.)

But bmwguydc and john70 got me looking at Ridgefield. It is absolutely gorgeous! The homes in my price range, the taxes, the "10" rated schools - I can't find anything wrong with it!

Since I don't work out of the city or even Westchester (I'll have to travel to north Jersey once a week, otherwise I work from home and Hong Kong), is there any reason or consideration that wouldn't make Ridgefield my immediate top choice?

What are the people like over there? Is the community a good match for me as described above?
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Old 02-13-2014, 06:50 AM
 
Location: East Millcreek
2,406 posts, read 5,249,858 times
Reputation: 2691
Quote:
Originally Posted by HK2NY View Post
This is great and two very important points that I really didn't fully consider until you guys brought them up.

First, only two homes sold in Croton last year for over $800K. Even if I landed what I'm looking for, I'm sure the resale will be a problem. For buyers looking to spend $1 million+ in Westchester, Croton is not their first choice.

The second critical factor is the culture and community. These neighbors will be our friends and our children's friends. They will have a major impact on my family. I am not a banker or Wall Street type. I'm an entrepreneur. I wear jeans to work, not designer suits. And while we like to have nice things and drive nice cars, we don't do it for show and we never look down on anyone. In fact we spend every Thanksgiving donating turkeys and every Christmas in a homeless shelter. It is very important to me to be surrounded by people with the same values. I want my children influenced by people like these, not those that get a BMW at 16.

This was very helpful and seemingly narrowed down my choices to Katonah, Bedford, Lewisboro and PR (not getting caught up in the town names as kletter1mann suggested.)

But bmwguydc and john70 got me looking at Ridgefield. It is absolutely gorgeous! The homes in my price range, the taxes, the "10" rated schools - I can't find anything wrong with it!

Since I don't work out of the city or even Westchester (I'll have to travel to north Jersey once a week, otherwise I work from home and Hong Kong), is there any reason or consideration that wouldn't make Ridgefield my immediate top choice?

What are the people like over there? Is the community a good match for me as described above?
Ridgefield is terrific, no question about it. [disclosure - my wife has practiced dermatology there and in Wilton for the last 12 years or so, so we know it well.] Let me try to dissect the differences like this:

Rural vibe, natural beauty, open space, solitude, privacy: Pound Ridge, hands down winner. Or, the hands down loser. Some people's privacy and quiet is somebody else's isolation and loneliness.

Actual downtown, easy to hang out in Starbucks: Ridgefield, clear winner. Pound Ridge scarcely has a "town," you'll go to Mt Kisco or new Canaan for that stuff.

Formality, vibe, number of showbiz types going to the supermarket in jeans and flip flops: Pound Ridge has a clear edge - less buttoned down. Ridgefield is more conventional in all respects, people dress preppier (after all, it is Connecticut).

.alt culture and aesthetic: I'm not sure what this even means, just trying to make a point. If Pound Ridge had a url it could easily be ruralaffluent.alt. It has an odd quirkiness and funkiness that is really quite unique. There are ubercontemporary, glass James Bond fortresses next to 250 YO farmhouses where somebody keeps chickens. Our master bedroom walls happen to be antique barnboard (many over 20" wide!) and there are stained glass windows in quirky hallway windows. The master bathroom has a huge antique barn beam in the ceiling to match a similar beam built into the stone MBr fireplace. We didn't do any of this stuff, the house was already that way. Some (or many? Or most?) would hate it. We think it's fun. Either way, it's very,very typical Pound Ridge. There's not much .alt about Ridgefield. Art hanging on the walls in PR is more likely to be huge, abstract pieces. In Ridgefield the bias would be towards representational art that fits nicely into a colonial or victorian.

Keeping up with the Joneses: As a generalization I'd say Ridgefield is more concerned with appearances. There's more preening going on (look at the parade of walkers/runners/dog-walkers along the main drag at any given moment, it's quite a sight).

16 YO kids getting BMW's:
Both places, these are affluent towns, but Ridgefield probably has the edge. OTOH, the kid in Pound Ridge probably has 4 cars in the driveway and takes whichever one suits their fancy.

Keep in mind, we're kind of splitting hairs here except for the rural part. But there are clear differences. And to be clear, there are people and house that I've characterized as "Pound Ridge" or "Ridgefield" to be found in the other place. It's about the averages. You need to drive around and look. I think that will make it clear. And have a look at this old Pound Ridge thread. You may find it helpful.
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:17 AM
 
6,993 posts, read 9,537,119 times
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OP may want to post the question in the CT forums but I thought I read someone post before that school redistricting/rezoning is a common occurrence in CT. Not sure if true.
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:37 AM
 
2,328 posts, read 5,060,034 times
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You said your wife is Hong Kong Chinese. This may not be an issue for you or her, but I would suspect that she would be one of the few Asians living in Ridgefield. Of course she would be totally welcome and accepted in the community.
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:45 AM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
1,316 posts, read 4,565,377 times
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Looking at town averages for a place like Croton is meaningless. The average price in the Harmon district is going to be much lower than the average in the Sunset district, which in turn will be about half of the average in the Mt Airy district, which will itself be lower than the average in the Teatown area. I wouldn't buy a house for over 800K in the Harmon area, but I'd snap one up in Teatown (unless it was a total pit, of course). Take a look at the homes currently in contract and you'll see that those in Mt Airy district are all in 1.5M to 2M range.

Last edited by dma1250; 02-13-2014 at 08:20 AM..
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Katonah
83 posts, read 140,730 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dma1250 View Post
Looking at town averages for a place like Croton is meaningless. The average price in the Harmon district is going to be much lower than the average in the Sunset district, which in turn will be about half of the average in the Mt Airy district, which will itself be lower than the average in the Teatown area. I wouldn't buy a house for over 800K in the Harmon area, but I'd snap one up in Teatown (unless it was a total pit, of course). Take a look at the homes currently in contract and you'll see that those in Mt Airy district are all in 1.5M to 2M range.

Why not just go to a town that is nice everywhere instead of deciphering what you said?

That looks like a word problem from elementary school or maybe it's a treasure map? The OP could print out your comment and go to Croton and attempt to find the treasure of the town's expensive houses.
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:41 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,830 posts, read 26,413,762 times
Reputation: 6895
Pound Ridge is great, but given the OP's wife's requirements is likely going to be a bit too rural and away from conveniences, which is the same as an area like Waccabuc or The Salems. If looking in Bedford Central, which is Pound Ridge's district, I would look closer to Bedford, around Guard Hill and environs because it's literally a couple of minutes from Bedford Hills and Mount Kisco for shopping. Guard Hill Road meets Route 117 by the Acura dealership and the Bedford Diner, where it changes to Knowlton Avenue.

As recommended earlier, I would still stand by the Ridgefield vs. Katonah decision as being closest to what you are seeking, especially given your wife's requirements for a community that is not too far away from conveniences. Fifteen minutes to Mount Kisco or New Cannan may not be an issue for many, but if your wife is used to city conveniences, that could wear on her nerves.
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:42 AM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
1,316 posts, read 4,565,377 times
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Quote:
Why not just go to a town that is nice everywhere instead of deciphering what you said?

That looks like a word problem from elementary school or maybe it's a treasure map? The OP could print out your comment and go to Croton and attempt to find the treasure of the town's expensive houses.
hgeb, OK. You mean like Chappaqua. Oh, wait. Chappaqua has very different price ranges for houses in the center of town vs houses to the east of town vs houses to the west of town. Too complicated!! So, maybe Katonah? No, Katonah has at least 4 distinct areas with extremely different price ranges. As does Briarcliff, Bedford, and every town mentioned in this thread. Oh, its all too much! The OP better just give up altogether.
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