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Old 05-26-2010, 08:11 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forest_Hills_Daddy View Post
Based on your experience, what kind of issues would those houses have aside from size?
Often, the issue could just be size. May be particularly small in total square footage, or while the total sf might not be horrible, the bedrooms may be tiny. Or the lot could be small, or the use of the land limited. Or perhaps it is particularly close to the tiny bit of commercial land in Chappaqua. (There is 1 house that was renovated, that has been for sale for the longest time... It sits next to the gas station and firehouse). Or the home could need work, either cosmetic or real structural. Maybe it still has a 1970 kitchen. Maybe it needs a new roof.

Given the decline in values, my numbers may be a bit outdated. But for a 2000 square foot house in Chappaqua, 3 bedrooms, on a residential street, without any issues of major significance, I think the real starting price would be about 700-750k. That won't buy a luxury home, by any stretch. But 3 years ago, townhouses in Chappaqua were getting close to that price range.
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Old 05-27-2010, 01:10 PM
 
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havoc, nice response. and to forest daddy, yes, the most common issue is the "size", usually of the house itself, but and/or also potentially of the land. in towns like chappaqua, acreage can be deceiving, because due to hilly/wooded terrain, a house with even 1.5 acres can have very little usable property, and sometimes there is something almost "clifflike" not very far behind your house that is potentially a hazard if you have small children (or there is standing water, or on a main street, or a corner lot that abuts a main street). in the same vein, certain streets just seem like they would be horrible to drive on in any bad weather (hilly, curvy, etc- and of course no street lights in chappaqua other than right in center of town). of course, sometimes there are also actual "issues" - like a serious lack of updating, or even basic maintenance. I am willing to buy a house that is dated, but not dilapidated. (my new catch-phrase since our house hunt began.)
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Old 05-27-2010, 03:22 PM
 
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In addtion to what Havoc and EagleScout mentioned, I'd say the "issues" we've seen mostly stem from house style and remodeling needs. For me it's hard to wrap my head around spending 800K on a house in need of $100K worth of renovations. Usually the houses need the kitchen, and 2 or 3 bathrooms redone, plus painting, new rugs or floors sanded and outside upgrades as well. And they are splits, ranches or raised ranches, too - not the most modern housing style. That also means small closets, small bathrooms, small kids rooms. The main rooms are usually a good size.
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Old 05-27-2010, 03:51 PM
 
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flower, I agree. also, the other thing that always "bugs" me is below-ground oil tanks, particularly if a house has somewhat extensive renovations. if they spent the money to fix the bathrooms, they could spend the 5k to remove the tank and install an above-ground one in the basement, etc. the longer the oil tank stays underground, the greater the chance of a leak developing. similarly, some sellers let their oil tank insurance lapse if they know they are going to sell, which creates further risk that any problems associated with the tank will be a huge headache.
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Old 05-27-2010, 04:10 PM
 
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I agree, we've just been walking away from underground oil tanks. Way too much liability.
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Old 05-28-2010, 07:10 AM
 
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For $800k, in the current market, I would think you can get a house in Chappaqua that does not need much work. (Some painting, etc, can always be expected). But it depends what you're looking for. $700-$800k in Chappaqua may buy a split, cape or raised ranch, that is up to date, and in good shape, ready to move in. But if you want the 3000sf Colonial, on a quiet residential street, and a flat 1 acre.... Then $700-$800k might buy a house like that, that needs work.
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Old 05-28-2010, 07:27 AM
 
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Believe me, I've seen most of the houses on the market in the ranges you are describing, and 720K or so is buying a raised ranch that needs a kitchen and baths redone. A colonial is 780K to 850K and needs work. The kitchens may not be original to the house, but they are old and need to be redone. The homes that don't need work are 875K and over. At least that is what the homeowners think these are all worth. Each homeowner is different. Some need to sell and will come down to accomodate the "new" market and others will just sit there, and sit there and then relist next spring. It just depends.
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Old 05-28-2010, 04:59 PM
 
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I think the whole spring selling season creates a pressure cooker environment that capitalizes on unrealistic expectations of sellers and the desperation/panic of buyers who have a limited window of time to find a house, close and move. We were caught up in that last year ourselves and ultimately decided to bite the bullet and rent. Then we were able to monitor what came on the market in the off season and jump on a great house in late fall (adorable cape, $800k range, 3/4 flat acre, updated baths/kitchen/Central AC, finished family room walkout basement, expansion potential of a plumbed & partially finished attic). Even with this supposedly declining/flat market, based on what I've seen this spring and described by flowergarden, I have no doubt this house could have gone for more had the sellers listed it in season. As it happens, they were looking to move up in the market and could take a bit of a hit on the sale as long as they could make the timing work to get into a new place by the summer.

The downside of renting of course is that you may end up buying in a different school district, but if you stay in the same basic area your kids will likely have made friends from other schools through various activities anyway. For example preschool classes usually have kids from several towns/districts. We are changing from P-ville to Chappaqua but my daughter already knows a few girls in her new school from gymnastics class. Also most schools have more than one class per grade (P-ville has 4-5), so your child is not guaranteed to have the same kids in their class from one year to the next anyway even within the same school.

Just some more food for thought for those getting discouraged by the current inventory...
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Old 05-29-2010, 05:09 PM
 
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Thank you for the heads-up everyone. I will keep these tips in mind.

Also, is there a good time in the year to go house hunting in Chappaqua, in terms of finding good listings? Would it be better to do it around January, May or the summer?
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Old 05-30-2010, 07:33 AM
 
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@ FHD: Traditionally, housing prices are lowest in the winter. However, housing stock is also at it's lowest. So, less choice of something to buy. Spring is the "hot" time as the most new listings come on the market. We are just about done with that. Now, just a few homes will come on the market. I think August is a good time, because homeowners suddenly realize that their house isn't going to sell and they tend to get a bit more realistic about their home's value. However, by that time most of the "good" houses are sold. So, it really just depends on what you are looking for and what is most important to you. Size, land, condition, price? What is it that you want to do with the house? Are you willing to undertake major renovations with all the dust, time and energy that requires? Or, do you want something "done" that you can just unpack and live in. It all depends.
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