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Old 09-18-2020, 05:48 AM
 
26 posts, read 6,997 times
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First of all let me thank you all for your very helpful replies. I did not check back in for a while because I was caught up with the school start for kids and new job etc. The posts are all very helpful!
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Old 09-18-2020, 05:56 AM
 
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Originally Posted by YorktownGal View Post
My advice is to buy less/lower than you can afford. Property taxes are a killer! Oil heat is expensive. Train commuter fees are high.

All school districts are good. Some school districts get more kids into Ivy League schools, it is because their parents are an ivy league alumni or parents have pushed the kids more. IMHO, schools have a limited affect. Saying that, I would add my son attended Archbishop Stepinac's honor program with advanced classes and loved it.

I can only speak for Yorktown, but we have a variety of political views here. We are northern Westchester and our next county, Putnam is more Republican (at least its my impression).

For activities, Yorktown is a big sports/lacrosse town.

I love Yorktown, but my husband worked in White Plains. His commute was 30 minutes. Pre-covid, I would go to White Plains for lunch dates. It's an easy lifestyle for us. I love my Yorktown community. Very nice people and tons of wildlife (dozens of bird species, foxes, rabbits, deer, groundhogs, coyotes, toads, bats - we got it all!). However, it's a long commute if you are going into the City with kids at home.

So I think White Plains or Croton (because it is next to the train station) might be better for you.
Great advice! Thanks. I will keep that in mind.
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Old 09-18-2020, 05:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Dabaomb View Post
$800k for a house in most parts of the US would be a great budget, sadly, it doesn't apply to much of the NYC Tri-State area.

In the best school districts in Southern Westchester, $800k will likely not get you new construction. Your $ will go much further in Northern Westchester and possibly CT.

Southern Westchester, with the exception of Eastchester, generally skews very Democrat (Eastchester is split down the middle but it has historically been Republican with a growing Democratic presence).

I think the real estate market's big question is will there be a vaccine for COVID-19? When this happens, the market will likely level off but until then, it will likely be very strong as people have the ability to work from home and want more space so will continue to move out of NYC. The other big question mark is who will win the presidency? A Biden/Harris presidency will have a big impact on real estate pricing.

I think you need to answer more questions in terms of what is important to you. Size of home, # of bedrooms/bathrooms, size of property, commute time to Grand Central, etc.
We are a family of four, so a 3 bedroom/2 bath house is fine for us and we like a garden but do not need an estate time property. We work in Midtown east and given that the kids are still in junior school/elementary school, we are trying to not be too far from them ie within an hour by train would be manageable I think.
We are working from home now so a bit flexible but not really sure what the organization policy will be come 2021 so if we have to return to the office most days then a shorter commute would be better and an afterschool program would be necessary.
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Old 09-18-2020, 06:01 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ThatCareerGuy View Post
Best advice.... BEST advice.

I did this and while there are some concessions I made as a result of having that mindset, I could not be happier when I consider what my mortgage is compared to many other homeowners in the area and the county overall. It really was want vs. need and "need" won out.

Your wallet will thank you, even if you have a lot of disposable income.
Thanks. Will keep that in mind.
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Old 09-18-2020, 06:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MartyandWendy View Post
Just to bring it back on track a bit, where in Manhattan do you work? If it's the financial district, that would weigh heavily in favor of staying as far south as possible with as short of a commute time as possible, since you'll have the extra 20-30 minutes of commute time on the 4/5/6 once you get to Grand Central.

Regarding the 'good enough downtown' and a lot of activities, there is nothing in Westchester that will come close to Manhattan or Brooklyn. It's not like moving to Pittsburgh or Seattle. It's an entirely different lifestyle and approach. Unless you find a house within a 5 minutes walk to 'downtown' Tarrytown or Pleasantville you're going to be getting in the car for just about everything.

Regarding the school district, that's a tough one. Many people just wouldn't consider a school district that doesn't have scores on Zillow of at least 7 or above. Many other people on this site insist that that those scores are irrelevant and it is what yiu make of it. Expanding your search so that it includes areas like Hartsdale, Tarrytown and White Plains which don't have good schools according to Zillow wil greatly expand the possibility of finding a home near some activities and further south.

Best of luck!!
Thanks! We work in mid-town east. And by good downtown I just meant grocery shopping, laundry, a few cafes, fresh fruit and veg, shops for basic clothing etc. We are simple people :-D
We are OK to drive around - we did in our last home (but that was a small city/country compared to here)

Being new here I am trying to understand about the school ratings and what goes into that. I must admit I have been eyeing the scores and immediately discounting the lower rated areas.
Probably I just have to do a couple of school tours and see what fits. That would be next year I guess because public schools are not doing tours at the moment.
Like everyone else we would like a good school but we do not really need a 10/10 rating.
Right now the kids are enrolled and attending a private school as we figure out next steps.
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Old 09-18-2020, 07:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by rwch View Post
It's certainly different than a denser parts of Brooklyn, but there are many village centers in Westchester where you can get all your staples and a range of activities without having to get in the car. Bronxville, Pelham, Scarsdale, Hastings, Dobbs, Mamaroneck, Larchmont, etc. all have a variety of shops and restaurants near the train station. Sometimes grocery is a little farther walk, but many have it within a few blocks of the station.

You'll likely want to have access to a car for large store shopping trips, but you don't need to be getting into the car all the time if you choose to live within walking distance of many downtown train stations.
Thanks. That is basically what we need - a place to buy staples and we will be buying a car so should be OK if we have to drive around a bit.
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Old 09-18-2020, 07:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by YorktownGal View Post
I think one thing that surprises parents is the lack of before school and after care. If you leave at 7:00 am for work, you'll need someone to help your kids on their school bus between 7 and 8 am.

Unless your kids are old enough to come home after school by themselves, that will be an issue.

BTW, most teenagers are more likely to get into drugs, alcohol and sex between 3 and 7 pm when their parents are working. Regardless of the town, there are drugs all over Westchester.

There are also holidays where schools are closed, but not businesses. You'll need daycare on those days.

Then be careful of distance. When my son was vomiting, his White Plains school nurse really wanted him out! I didn't blame her, but Yorktown to White Plains is a 30 minute drive. If something happens, you need to be in close range for emergencies.

All this extra care costs money. Even if the town provides before and after school care, it will cost you.
Thanks! This has been my greatest worry/concern. My kids are young and need help getting ready for school and getting to school and back. With the commutes I can foresee we would need to hire help or we would need to stagger our work schedules so that one starts early and end early and the other one later. This can maybe be worked out but only to a certain extent - I cannot imagine they would be happy with me signing off work at 3.30pm everyday.
I am agonizing over this because consistent, good quality child care would probably be necessary but is an added cost. So I have to work that in.
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Old 09-18-2020, 07:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by roskybosky View Post
There are homes in Fleetwood in your price range, but the kids will have to go to private schools. Short commute also, and the 'downtown' is very nice with lots of shops and restaurants. Train is nearby.
Thanks - I had not even heard of Fleetwood. This sounds interesting.
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Old 09-18-2020, 07:22 AM
 
26 posts, read 6,997 times
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Originally Posted by NYCresident2014 View Post
The market is nuts right now, you'd be much better off to rent for a year until this craziness subsides. Your $800k will probably only buy what $700k would have bought last year. Unfortunately the rentals are going to be more expensive and harder to find too, but that's just what it is right now.

Another option to consider is NJ. You'll get more house for the money there. If you're open to a 35-40 minute train commute you can buy a lot of house in an amazing school district for less than $800k. For reference I lived in a town called Metuchen that had a 40min express train and a 4 bedroom house walking distance to the train was only around $500k. Summit NJ also beautiful, with similar train. These are both more suburban towns with little downtowns; you can also get more of a Brooklyn feel closer to the city in towns like Rutherford, where the schools are still good but the houses are even cheaper, and the commute can be under 20 minutes depending on the mode and time of day.

That's kind of what I figured - that the market was a bit unstable. We moved at a really strange time. So what we've done is take a one year rental in Manhattan as we explore our options. We do not even really know yet if the office will require us back full time or we will be allowed to work from home full time.

I must admit we have been looking mostly in Westchester because the commute "looked" easier. But Labour Day weekend we drove through NJ and I saw some really nice houses. I have a bit of time still so I will explore and perhaps start with the towns you have mentioned.
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Old 09-19-2020, 09:55 PM
 
101 posts, read 54,407 times
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Good luck to you, however remember that your commute from NJ will be significantly worse from the towns that have high rates schools. There’s really no way around it: good schools, good commute or house condition/size. Pick only 2 if you have a limited (under 900K) budget
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