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Old 02-13-2012, 03:02 PM
 
6 posts, read 26,450 times
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It feels pretty crass publishing my HHI but I'm bereft of direction and could really use some help so here I am. My husband and I currently own a small co-op apartment in Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn and are considering either (a) sizing up to a 3 bed/2 ba in a few years when we have a baby and praying that we somehow get our child into a decent NYC school or (b) moving to a diverse suburb with at least solid elementary school options. We've visited Fleetwood Mt. Vernon and love the feel--98 nationalities (important as we are an interracial couple); lots of Tudors, Victorians and Spanish revivals; close to the city; relatively modest home prices. The elementary schools look good (unlike the abysmal choices in Lefferts Gardens) but I understand that we'd need to resort to private / parochial for the upper grades.

Here's the question: is there any way to have a house-owning life in Fleetwood or somewhere similar on our income, given that the average property taxes are $12K+ or would we be consigned to a co-op / condo? We have no debt besides our small current mortgage but having been city dwellers our entire lives, the prospect of being a two car, Metro-North-taking household with kids in tow seems like a huge proposition. And if $130K isn't enough for this area, how much income would we need to be comfortable?

Thanks very much.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:22 PM
bg7
 
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I can't speak for that area as I don't know it, so I don't know how 130K will do. But some things to take into account are that, at that HHI, you won't be paying about $4,500 in NYC resident income taxes any more, so that will offset the property taxes. Also, would you really need two cars? Live within walking distance or cycling distance of the MNRR and you'll probably only need one. Plus, commuting by MNRR is not a negative in my experience (I lived and commuted within the city for 15 years). The cars are relatively clean and comfortable, you'll more than likely get a seat, and they're normally quiet during rush hours, good for working or reading. Plus, although they don;t have the frequency of the subway, I find them to be on time pretty much always.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:35 PM
 
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bg7, That's very helpful context, thank you. I honestly had not considered the NYC residents' tax and yes, it's substantial. I blush to admit I've never been on Metro North before; it's good to hear it is more pleasant than the subway.
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Old 02-13-2012, 09:29 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,918 posts, read 29,095,835 times
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With a HHI of $130k, a reasonable down payment, and minimal debt, I think you would be able to find a single-family home in Mount Vernon that would work for your family. Metro-North is civilized, and it's a quick ride to GCT from Fleetwood. In Fleetwood, I should think that one car would be fine for a family, especially if you were to buy something like a CR-V or Highlander that would be economical to purchase/insure/operate, yet have enough room for children and all their things. In a couple of years, if you have children in different activities that require driving, you could always add a second car, or even a second used car like a Civic or Corolla, even better if you needed to drive to the train station or only had one garage.
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Old 02-16-2012, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Westchester County, NY
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The general rule of thumb is multiply your HHI by 3, and that's the max price of a house you can afford mortgage-wise assuming current rates and that you do not have many other debts or credit issues. Fleetwood has houses sometimes in the $300Ks (not always though), mainly because being in the Mt. Vernon school district scares people away (neighborhood itself is really nice and elementary schools are zoned by neighborhood so no problem there, but the middle and high schools are not and have bad reps).

Good luck!

Last edited by 7 Wishes; 02-16-2012 at 11:37 AM..
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Old 04-03-2012, 05:54 AM
 
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Default Property taxes a real concern..

We are on a similar journey... My husband and I found a house in Fleetwood for $300K, 4bds/2.5 bath, but found out the 2011 property taxes was actually $19,200 after we signed the contract to purchase. Factored for the NYC tax savings and the “STAR” credit the taxes would be over 15K. One of our children starts HS in the September 2012 and the thought of paying for private HS in addition to this tax burden weighs on us. We love the elementary school options for our younger child but the HS would not work for us.

From my extensive search on Zillows and Trulia, I believe you can find a house in Fleetwood within your budget range but before you get excited, contact the Mount Vernon tax assessor’s office for the actual taxes on the property. Does anyone know Mount Vernon’s history on tax re-assessment? Should we be hopeful, if we close on the property, we can get the property tax reduced?
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Westchester County, NY
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The truth is, property taxes in Westchester are among the highest in the country. As astronomical as Mt. Vernon's taxes are, they are among one of the lower ones in the county. The only real low property taxes in the region are in the 5 boros itself (relative; compared to most of the US they are still insane). Next lowest regionally is Fairfield County, CT (i.e. think Stamford though housing prices there are higher than Fleetwood). Good luck!
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:29 PM
 
222 posts, read 493,057 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bklynspice View Post
We are on a similar journey... My husband and I found a house in Fleetwood for $300K, 4bds/2.5 bath, but found out the 2011 property taxes was actually $19,200 after we signed the contract to purchase. Factored for the NYC tax savings and the “STAR” credit the taxes would be over 15K. One of our children starts HS in the September 2012 and the thought of paying for private HS in addition to this tax burden weighs on us. We love the elementary school options for our younger child but the HS would not work for us.

From my extensive search on Zillows and Trulia, I believe you can find a house in Fleetwood within your budget range but before you get excited, contact the Mount Vernon tax assessor’s office for the actual taxes on the property. Does anyone know Mount Vernon’s history on tax re-assessment? Should we be hopeful, if we close on the property, we can get the property tax reduced?

19.2k in taxes on a 300k house is insane. Something is missing there, you should get it checked out or try as hard as you can to get out of the contract unless you want you tax bill to be higher than your mortgage.
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Old 04-03-2012, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
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As a former Prospect Lefferts Gardens resident, i just want to say that the move out of the city should be a good change. My wife and I were both born and bred in brownstone Brooklyn and lived in Park Slope for about 15 years before moving to PLG. After two years there we were ready for a change. I can't help with the area you're looking at as we weren't interested in the inner burbs and moved to northern Westchester.(We decided that if we were giving up what the city offers we wanted to get things the city can't give you, and not just a house and good public schools.) Wherever you go, I'm sure the transition will be rough but the change will be for the best. The only things I miss are roti, good ginger beer, and the park. But what I got more than makes up for it.
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Old 04-20-2012, 07:05 PM
 
26 posts, read 48,588 times
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Are you nuts? You own a home in Brownstone Brooklyn. It's heaven on earth for kids, not to mention their parents. There are bidding wars on property there. Stay in Brooklyn. A million growing–or soon hoping to–families would love to be in your shoes. We're looking for apts there and people with kids are tearing each other's eyes out at open houses. And not rich people either. Do. Not. Move.
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