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Old 09-20-2011, 08:47 AM
 
21 posts, read 89,132 times
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Hi there,

I've been reading about different neighborhoods on these forums for a while, and I have to say, the input has been invaluable.

Before I ask my question (about Mt. Kisco), here is a little background---

My husband and I (early 30s), want to make a move to Westchester County (from NYC) - our daughter is almost a year old, and we are running out of space in our 1 Bedroom. We've always wanted to end up in the suburbs, and we've targeted Westchester as where we want to end up.

I grew up in Scarsdale, my husband in Long Island. Having grown up in Scarsdale, I can say very positive things -- but I also have seen the competitiveness that can go on (though I'm sure that can be said of many other communities). We are really priced out of Scarsdale, and that's OK.

We are looking for a down-to-earth community that isn't too far away from NYC (my husband and I both work there), and a town with good schools (they don't have to be Scarsdale/Chappaqua competitive, but somewhere our daughter can receive a quality education).

We like open space, so having a bit of land would be great, and the 'feel' of a neighborhood/community is very important to us. Town amenities like a community pool are a great bonus, too.

So far, we've been looking into Mamaroneck, Harrison, Rye Brook, Edgemont, Bedford, and Chappaqua.

And now for the question....

We think that our range for budget is about $700-950K -- 950 is, in fact, kind of a reach -- especially with higher taxes -- but we're willing to stretch a little in the beginning for the right home. In this market, it's hard to know what things go for, so we're willing to look at the high end of our range.

Can anyone give me some thoughts on Mt. Kisco? (I did see an earlier post on the matter, but not anything recent).

We love the Bedford/Chappaqua areas, but the houses are pretty pricey, with a little too much land for us (too much upkeep), and at least in Bedford, the commute to NYC is not ideal.

We found a home in Mount Kisco at the very high end of our range, which we absolutely LOVE. Taxes are on the high end, but we think doable. The neighborhood is gorgeous, but it feels very family oriented, and it's on a private street/cul de sac, where our daughter could ride her bike (one day!) . Just envisioning how amazing Halloween on that street must be makes me smile.

The house is about 8 minutes from the train station, and the 50 hour commute is doable for us, but really that's the limit on how long we'd want to be on the train back and forth.

The elementary school would be Mt. Kisco Elementary, with Bedford Schools. I've read positive and negative about MKE, but the one thing that stands out to me is that it's a bit more diverse than West Patent or the other elementaries -- and that seems to be more of a positive to me than a negative, so long as the school provides a good education.

Just wanted to see what people thought about the town, the people, and the cross-over between Bedford and Chappaqua (it seems people from each town kind of intermingle?) Also, would love to know people's thoughts on the Mount Kisco Elementary and Bedford schools.

Are people friendly in Mount Kisco? Is it a good place for young children to grow up? A good place for young mothers to meet other mothers?

I really appreciate any insight you may have. Since we're seriously considering this particular home, we are trying to 'get to know' this community!

Thank you so much!
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:00 AM
bg7
 
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"the 50 hour commute is doable for us"

You must be a tough couple of cookies.
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:04 AM
 
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Ha, thanks bg7. It's not ideal, but we would make it work for the right situation.

We'd love to live somewhere w/ a 35 minute train-ride to NYC - but Pelham didn't feel right to us, and we are finding that what you can get for $850K in Mamaroneck/Harrison etc. is nowhere near what you can get (space wise, etc.) a little farther out.

We kind of do the "is 20 extra minutes on the train really a big deal" question. For the right house/life for our daughter, we think it would be.
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:15 AM
bg7
 
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I know it is a difficult thing to balance. Personally, I have found 35 mins (really 38 mins in my case) the maximum. With the walk to the station, the safety-cushion waiting time, exiting the train and getting to the desk I come in at a little bit under an hour. IMHO, 20 mins on its own is no big deal, but multiply that by the number of times you'll be doing it per month - it was too much for me.
It starts to get wearing.Thats also time not spent with the kids (though sometimes I could do with an extra 20 mins not with the kids..)

Anyway good luck with your search, and mortgage rates are so low right now!
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Old 09-20-2011, 02:47 PM
 
Location: East Millcreek
2,546 posts, read 6,392,970 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bg7 View Post
IMHO, 20 mins on its own is no big deal, but multiply that by the number of times you'll be doing it per month - it was too much for me. It starts to get wearing.Thats also time not spent with the kids (though sometimes I could do with an extra 20 mins not with the kids..)
Obviously a personal choice with numerous pros on the other side as well. Anyway.....

>>Just wanted to see what people thought about the town, the people
Nice, low key, much less hyper than downcounty.

>>, and the cross-over between Bedford and Chappaqua
>>(it seems people from each town kind of intermingle?)
Not so much as far as I know. My perception is Bedford and Pound Ridge mingle a lot more (common school system, local newspaper, folksy local shared phone book etc)

>>Also, would love to know people's thoughts on the Mount Kisco >>Elementary and Bedford schools.
I can only comment on Bedford Hills elementary. My brother's 3 daughters went there and he and his wife (very fussy, demanding type) were very happy with it.

>>Are people friendly in Mount Kisco?
>>Is it a good place for young children to grow up?
>>A good place for young mothers to meet other mothers?
Yes, yes, yes
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Old 09-20-2011, 03:22 PM
bg7
 
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Kletterman, you are right that it is a personal choice with many considerations. Some studies I have read about second-hand have shown that people underestimate the impact of commuting on their happiness and also perform a weighting error in trading the imagined increase in quality of life from the location versus the decrease in quality of life resulting from the commute.

However, people have different tolerances for these things and different priorities.
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Old 09-20-2011, 04:00 PM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
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By far the most important thing in terms of the commute is the frequency of the trains (to me at least). In 10 years of commuting I've never had an issue with the lengeth of the commute, but I am constantly annoyed and bothered by having to run to catch a train. I am fortunate that my train station (Croton) is a hub station and has lots of express and semi-express trains so there is usually no more than 15 minutes between fast trains. But still it is a regular problem that you need to finish something at work but you really want to catch that train and which do you do? Or you're about to leave in the morning and your kid decides to tell you something important that happened to them. Knowing that there is another train in 10-15 minutes is key!!

Like many things in life, when it comes to commuting quality is more important than quantity. My train ride is on many days the highpoint of my working day (sitting in the comfy chair looking out at the Hudson and listening to music, followed by a beautiful drive). That's in stark contrast to my old subway commute, which was shorter but caused me constant stress.

My advice is looking carefully at the schedule for any station you are considering and make sure that there are ample options at the times you usually commute.
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:06 PM
 
Location: East Millcreek
2,546 posts, read 6,392,970 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bg7 View Post
Kletterman, you are right that it is a personal choice with many considerations. Some studies I have read about second-hand have shown that people underestimate the impact of commuting on their happiness and also perform a weighting error in trading the imagined increase in quality of life from the location versus the decrease in quality of life resulting from the commute.

However, people have different tolerances for these things and different priorities.
To be clear - my own tolerance for long commute is pretty low. I've gone out of my way to engineer my life to avoid ever having anything more than 30 minutes door to desk. And never catching a train. Yet every day I encounter people who vastly prefer the larger lot and less crowded lifestyle that accompanies a slightly longer commute. And others (usually from other parts of the country) whose absolute requirement is a house with X bedrooms and Y sq ft, cause that's what people in their station have wherever they come from, and they're illing to endure the 2 hour commutes to Dutchess or where ever so they can have it. Insane IMO.
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:18 PM
 
Location: Bellevue, WA
1,496 posts, read 4,219,075 times
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The problem with Northern Westchester (as we found it to be at least in Chap and Chap/Mt. Kisco PO) is that you don't get a 2000 sq. ft. house on a 7500 ft lot for 25% less than Southern Westchester...for the same money you get a 3000+ sq. ft house on a massive lot with an equally massive tax and utility bill, since none of these homes are generally new and energy efficient (often with septic, wells, etc too). Plus, to me it wasn't the suburbs...it was borderline rural.

It was tempting but we decided to stay down here and traded off on the space and are very happy that we did. I know a lot of people that make that commute and they are burned out from just one person doing it...2 ppl doing it 5x a week is nuts to me...especially since few of the schools/daycares here have great before or after care (and some no bussing but unlikely not to have it up there) so you have to get a nanny to make it work even with a 30 minute commute. Perhaps you should rent for a year to try it out? It's a big move to make.

And a huge agreement on checking the train schedule - an hour train ride can easily turn into an hour and a half or more if you miss your train (which happens all the time). Also make sure that your station has readily available parking permits, and make sure that the home you choose is zoned to get one (meaning, we looked at some homes zoned for Chap. schools but not the town of New Castle so we would have had to lottery for parking every year.)
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:27 PM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
1,316 posts, read 4,954,444 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjinla View Post
... Plus, to me it wasn't the suburbs...it was borderline rural...
Well that I can agree with! If you want suburbia, move to southern Westchester. The rest of the post...
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