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Old 12-21-2016, 09:59 AM
 
1,970 posts, read 1,369,626 times
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So this thread is very similar to a recent post (another individual looking a job in Westchester county), but my stats are different so I'd like to see if the recommendations are different.

In short, I'm considering a position a few minutes drive from Chappaqua. It would be a full move for us- I presently live about 2 hours from there. I don't know the area well and have started looking at homes on Zillow to get an idea of what we could get for our money. In short, it looks like we need more money!

I'm hoping to stay under $900k but need 4 bedrooms. I'd love to be in an HOA-style community so that my young kids can grow up riding bikes to their friends' houses and whatnot. Schools are extremely important to us, and a short commute is extremely important to me (15 minutes or less would be ideal). We could probably stretch to about $1.1m but it would significantly impact our lifestyle for the first few years until my income caught up; even $900k would be tight but I'd like to stretch now so that we won't have to move again in the future.

Proximity to a train station would be ideal though I'd imagine I would get more for my money if I stay out of a train town. I won't be commuting to NYC so not a huge issue but I'd like to have a train somewhat close in case the job isn't what it seems and I end up having to take a position in NYC in the future. Again, not a huge concern.

Are there any towns within about 20 minutes of Chappaqua that would fit the bill? On Zillow it seems like all the 4+ bedroom homes are well into the millions unless it's a run-down home from the 70's in the middle of nowhere. I'm extremely unfamiliar with the area so I'd love to be wrong!

Oh and bonus points- does anyone know if there are any Russian communities nearby? My wife is a native Russian speaker and our kids are bi-lingual, so it would make her more comfortable if she knew that we could find some Russian activities in the area.

Thanks!
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Old 12-21-2016, 10:19 AM
 
Location: NY
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Not sure about Russian areas but you should be able to find a nice place for 900k in many of the surrounding towns. Mount Pleasant, Briarcliff Manor, Ardsley, Mount Kisco or Armonk are all nice areas with well respected school systems. This time of year is tough because there's not much on the market around the holidays, but come February or so there should be much more to choose from. Good luck!
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Old 12-21-2016, 04:07 PM
 
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Bedford, Katonah, Pound Ridge would be my choices.
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Old 12-22-2016, 08:29 AM
 
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Thanks both! By any chance are you aware of any HOA communities with sub-$1m homes in the area? I'll speak with a local realtor if I end up taking the job and moving, but right now just trying to get an idea. I've found a couple of communities on Zillow including one in Armonk and one a bit further north but the homes in both were over $1m.

Sadly it also looks like property taxes are quite high up in that area! I'm in NJ now and my taxes are about $12k/year but it looks like they will come close to double if I move up that way. I should have a few more kids so I can get my money's worth for the public schools (just kidding)
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Old 12-22-2016, 10:32 AM
 
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More like a half hour from Chappaqua but check out the Heritage Hills area of Somers and nearby developments, seems to fit what you may be looking for.
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Old 12-26-2016, 09:32 AM
 
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I would also suggest to consider areas over CT border - New Canaan and Ridgefield. Taxes are much better there.
As for Russian communities - there are Russian schools in New Rochelle and White Plains, Russian church in Stamford, CT (and a food store, though in a different part of the city). You can also look up couple of local Facebook groups.
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Old 12-26-2016, 06:00 PM
 
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Good luck with the Russian Food Stores - we've been up here for a few years and have yet to find one - hoping someone on this thread has some recs.
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Old 12-29-2016, 07:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weavrn View Post
I would also suggest to consider areas over CT border - New Canaan and Ridgefield. Taxes are much better there.
As for Russian communities - there are Russian schools in New Rochelle and White Plains, Russian church in Stamford, CT (and a food store, though in a different part of the city). You can also look up couple of local Facebook groups.
I appreciate all the responses. The comment about Russian schools in white plains was a HUGE hit! After a bit of googling they look perfect for my kids' ages.

We're overall pretty happy with the area, so now we wait to see whether an offer follows next week
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Old 02-20-2017, 09:38 AM
 
1,970 posts, read 1,369,626 times
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So just to update this thread in case any should stumble across it in the future: we had our first house hunting expedition yesterday. We looked at homes in Valhalla, Pleasantville, Armonk, and North Castle. Talk about culture shock- everywhere we've lived in the past has had sidewalks and my wife and kids could spend the day without getting in the car since they could walk to the park, walk to school, walk to a store for milk, etc. Aside from one or two streets in Armonk, we found these parts of Westchester county to look more like the Poconos- skinny, windy roads to vast wooded lots. Even some of the homes that were within a mile from downtown were not walkable. The sidewalks just end in the middle of the road and you're stuck walking in the shoulder of a double-yellow line rd.

Yikes. This did not go over well with the missus- now it has her (and me) questioning my new job as well. Not that it matters- I needed a job and this one was perfect in every other respect, and also happened to be the only place hiring someone in my niche for now.

The silver lining- we did find ~4 streets that were extremely close to downtown Armonk that had sidewalks and were surprisingly well within our price range. Unfortunately there is only one home for sale and it's priced $200k over the comps (which doesn't matter- it's considerably smaller that the neighboring homes and just too small for us). Wampus Ave/Glendale Ave/Maryland Ave and a couple others.

So I guess that is the takeaway- we're going to sit and wait for something else to pop up in this neighborhood. But we were just so disappointed with Westchester overall. Everyone and their mother was telling us "oh, you'll love Westchester" but we just don't get it. Obviously, different strokes for different folks, but seriously- most of the homes just looked like "Cabin in the Woods", even those priced well over $1m. I guess that's what people who move there are looking for.

The realtor keeps pushing us to try Katonah but it gives me a much too long commute. It looks like there are pockets of West Harrison and Purchase that might fit the bill. We don't require a large house, and there seems to be two or three neighborhoods with sidewalks and homes under $1m. Nothing for sale now but we'll continue to monitor.

Apologies for the stream-of-consciousness rant.
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Old 02-20-2017, 10:46 AM
 
Location: NY
195 posts, read 231,082 times
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There's definitely more of a woodsy feel up here (I'm in Mount Pleasant and the only downfall for us is no sidewalks)
That being said, don't give up!
White Plains (schools have a mixed rep but those in the neighborhoods speak very highly of them)
Harrison and West Harrison - Harrison proper is definitely less woody and has plenty of sidewalks and a train station
I would also tell you to give Katonah a look - not sure about the walkability but as a whole the town has a wonderful rep
Good luck!
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