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Old 05-02-2021, 09:10 AM
 
10 posts, read 13,241 times
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I've lurked this forum for many years now and FINALLY am in a position to be able to post for advice!

My spouse and I are looking to purchase a home starting at the end of this year. I'm from Brooklyn, he's from the Bronx and together we have a 3-year old daughter. We're also looking to expand our family, but I would like to purchase a home prior to doing that.

So we have a list of things that are priority for us, them being:

HIM:
- Garage (he does repair work on cars and so this is a must have)
- Acreage (Although this isn't so much of a priority, he'd like for us to have around .25-.50 acre at minimum)

ME:
- Good school district: Our daughter has been raised in the Bright Horizons program since 11 months old and so she's been immersed in education for quite some time. She's very smart, so ideally I'm looking for a good school district that will be able to continue to further her growth & development.

- Backyard: We love to entertain quite often, especially during the summertime, and so this is a must have for us. Ideally something where we can later look at putting a pool is an added bonus.

- Diversity: We're a liberal family with a lot of mixed heritage from both sides, so having some sort of diversity would definitely be preferable. I'd also like a bit of a community feel where I can connect with other Moms and have my daughter connect with other children (she's at the stage where EVERYONE she meets becomes her 'best friend' LoL)

- Nightlife: While we don't need bars/clubs by far, we definitely are the type to enjoy brunch/restaurant outings and nearly anything outdoors related.

In terms of home specifications, we'd need a minimum of 3 bedrooms, a basement (finished even better) and ideally 2 bathrooms. We'd likely to stay under $500K if we can, although slightly hovering above this is okay for the right area.

We book work in NYC, and as of right now because of my student loan forgiveness commitment, I'd likely stay working in NYC for at least another ten years. SO is willing to find a different job closer to home if need be. In any event, our working hours are 7am to 3pm and we'd likely drive in. We already know what the commute would mean in terms of driving as it relates to the afternoon.

All that being said, we've been looking at the following areas:

- Cortlandt Manor
- Yorktown Heights
- Lake Mohegan
- Stamford, CT (this is a last resort as most of our family and friends are in NY)

I've read about the Lakeland school district as it relates to CM/Yorktown and LM and it seems like it would fit the bill in terms of what we're looking for. Do you feel that there's any one town that's more beneficial than the other considering the parameters we've listed?

I've also heard Croton-on-Hudson might be an option, but then I've heard conflicting info on its differences to Cortlandt Manor.

Also, I know that Indian Point is in the vicinity, but with its recent closure I'm wondering if this is still an important point I need to pay focus to.

Any advice is HUGELY appreciated.
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Old 05-06-2021, 07:10 AM
 
974 posts, read 1,013,155 times
Reputation: 1344
Quote:
Originally Posted by vivEz daNs lamouR View Post
I've lurked this forum for many years now and FINALLY am in a position to be able to post for advice!

My spouse and I are looking to purchase a home starting at the end of this year. I'm from Brooklyn, he's from the Bronx and together we have a 3-year old daughter. We're also looking to expand our family, but I would like to purchase a home prior to doing that.

So we have a list of things that are priority for us, them being:

HIM:
- Garage (he does repair work on cars and so this is a must have)
- Acreage (Although this isn't so much of a priority, he'd like for us to have around .25-.50 acre at minimum)

ME:
- Good school district: Our daughter has been raised in the Bright Horizons program since 11 months old and so she's been immersed in education for quite some time. She's very smart, so ideally I'm looking for a good school district that will be able to continue to further her growth & development.

- Backyard: We love to entertain quite often, especially during the summertime, and so this is a must have for us. Ideally something where we can later look at putting a pool is an added bonus.

- Diversity: We're a liberal family with a lot of mixed heritage from both sides, so having some sort of diversity would definitely be preferable. I'd also like a bit of a community feel where I can connect with other Moms and have my daughter connect with other children (she's at the stage where EVERYONE she meets becomes her 'best friend' LoL)

- Nightlife: While we don't need bars/clubs by far, we definitely are the type to enjoy brunch/restaurant outings and nearly anything outdoors related.

In terms of home specifications, we'd need a minimum of 3 bedrooms, a basement (finished even better) and ideally 2 bathrooms. We'd likely to stay under $500K if we can, although slightly hovering above this is okay for the right area.

We book work in NYC, and as of right now because of my student loan forgiveness commitment, I'd likely stay working in NYC for at least another ten years. SO is willing to find a different job closer to home if need be. In any event, our working hours are 7am to 3pm and we'd likely drive in. We already know what the commute would mean in terms of driving as it relates to the afternoon.

All that being said, we've been looking at the following areas:

- Cortlandt Manor
- Yorktown Heights
- Lake Mohegan
- Stamford, CT (this is a last resort as most of our family and friends are in NY)

I've read about the Lakeland school district as it relates to CM/Yorktown and LM and it seems like it would fit the bill in terms of what we're looking for. Do you feel that there's any one town that's more beneficial than the other considering the parameters we've listed?

I've also heard Croton-on-Hudson might be an option, but then I've heard conflicting info on its differences to Cortlandt Manor.

Also, I know that Indian Point is in the vicinity, but with its recent closure I'm wondering if this is still an important point I need to pay focus to.

Any advice is HUGELY appreciated.
I live in Cortlandt Manor, in the Lakeland School District. Lakeland is a simply huge district, with 5 elementary schools, one big middle school and two high schools. I think it is exactly what you are looking for. On Indian Point, its closure will heavily impact the Hendrick Hudson School District, which is also in Cortlandt. I would not choose to be in that district for at least 5 years as it is unclear what the eventual tax burden will be. the schools are switching to the princeton plan model to reduce staff for 2022 and several short term grants from the state are helping prop up the massive shortfall in taxes from the plant closing (it gave the school a massive part of its budget). I would let that all play out before making a big investment. Just my thoughts. Make sure you find out what district any home is in. School district lines and town lines have nothing to do with each other. Lakeland has students from 5 towns in its borders.

Yorktown is the next district to the west. It is as lovely as Lakeland. Taxes seem a bit higher, but not by much. I would also consider that. If you plan on more youngsters there are lots of great activities from every sport you can imagine, to activities like theater, arts, and places to hang out. There is a great town youth center in Cortlandt with a huge climbing wall and sponsored activities like cooking, video game competitions, and just a place play around. The town summer camp is cheaper than any local private camp and is a great place for kids, with bussing to and from. Its easy to get to the trains. I use the Croton train station, but cortlandt's train station is also fantastic with plenty of parking to encourage mass transit use. If you are driving, that won't matter. If you need daycare, the dropoff at 6am may be difficult in some locations, some do not open until 6:30 or even 7am. Its been a awhile since we used daycare and that may have changed. But call around. I used to use the bright horizons at MetroTech in Brooklyn or at Grand Central for emergencies. Great places!

As for your home needs, a garage is pretty much standard here. Everything but townhouses will have one. Also, most of the town in quarter to acre lots. You can find bigger though. The schools are great. Westchester is pretty white in terms of diversity, but Lakeland is more diverse than most of the southern districts probably because of the cost of homes being more reasonable. In the elementary schools, I think George Washington is the most racially diverse and Thomas Jefferson is the least. All are solid schools, pretty equal in my opinion. Not much of a nightlife, but Peekskill has some incredible restaurants and bars.

There are an abundance of 3-4 bedroom homes with a basement and 2 bathrooms (or at least 1.5) under or near $500K if we can. These are pretty typical of the types of homes that come up frequently.

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/4...58412571_zpid/

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1...58411823_zpid/

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1...58411442_zpid/

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/6...58411152_zpid/

I know the family in the second home and have been in it a few times, truly gorgeous home with a cool history. But no matter when you decide to move, this is what you will find. Lots of nice homes in that price range with all the boxes you have checked off.

Croton is also amazing, but that price range will be difficult for a nice 3 to 4 bedroom. I would look. Like I said, look at Yorktown too. Lots of homes in Yorktown are in the Lakeland district, and even if in the Yorktown district, the taxes are the only thing I would look at closely, otherwise it is equally a great town like Cortlandt. Best of luck to you. If you have any specific questions about an area, elementary school or really anything about Cortlandt, please let me know. I am happy to help bring another great family to our lovely town.
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Old 05-06-2021, 07:52 AM
 
3,116 posts, read 1,257,149 times
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Lake Mohegan is split between the Town of Cortlandt and the Town of Yorktown. It has hilly, narrow roads which make for bad winter driving. Most of the houses where summer houses updated for year round use. Some updates were done well and by professional and some were slapped together without permits. I like Shrub Oak in Yorktown more.

Yorktown's high taxes are increasing yearly. Cortlandt is better.

Have a snow plan. There are many days when NYC gets little to no snow and Yorktown/Cortlandt get socked. It's really a different weather pattern from NYC. You'll either get to work late or need to take the day off. Most daycare centers also have snow days so you'll have to find another alternative.
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Old 05-09-2021, 09:07 PM
 
152 posts, read 74,277 times
Reputation: 106
Yorktown has no train station. Something to keep in mind. I suggest you look at other towns on the Hudson Line (MTA.)

Towns like Dobbs Ferry, Tarrytown, Irvington are less commute time and have trains.
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Old 05-10-2021, 05:01 PM
 
3,116 posts, read 1,257,149 times
Reputation: 6964
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrekker96 View Post
Yorktown has no train station. Something to keep in mind. I suggest you look at other towns on the Hudson Line (MTA.)

Towns like Dobbs Ferry, Tarrytown, Irvington are less commute time and have trains.
Central Yorktown is not NYC commuter friendly. The drive from Triangle Center to Croton is difficult especially on Underhill Road. The road is dark - there are no street lights. It isn't a straight road, it's pretty winding. Westchester has too many deer. One night a deer was standing on the New Croton Reservoir bridge. It's only two lanes so had to wait until he/she walked into the opposite lane.

Many Yorktowners work in Westchester/White Plains. If you want to commute to NYC, Yorktown near Croton is better. Between Hayes Drive and Hunterbrook Road would work. I think its a charming area. It's really like living in the country.

If you live closer to Tomahawk Street, then the Katonah Train Station is closer.

Yorktown is 40 square miles. It's larger than most towns so it has more variety in housing and commuting.
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Old 05-11-2021, 06:45 AM
 
750 posts, read 792,527 times
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If your work hours are 7 am to 3 pm and you drive in, then maybe also cross shop with the southeastern portion of Rockland - in particular South Orangetown, Pearl River, Nanuet and Nyack school districts. From South Orangetown and Pearl River you would only be 15 miles to the GWB. With those work hours, you can get over the bridge with not much hassle. Palisades Parkway would move fast also. It's a shorter commute by car. When house shopping, try to take advantage of market efficiencies. Rockland is underpriced compared to Westchester because you have to cross the Hudson to get to Manhattan. But if you can cross at effecient times (or not at all), than you can get more value for your price.

The Nyack SD is very diverse - more so than what you are otherwise looking at - also more liberal. Nanuet much less. PR and SO even less so.

If your significant other will be looking for work closer to home, these areas open up the possibility of working in NJ. Depending on his or her field, there may be a ton of opportunities. Its always good to look at multiple areas because all areas have pluses and minuses. The more areas you look at, the more likely you are to find a place where the pluses for you outweigh the minuses.
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Old 05-11-2021, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Arizona
5,186 posts, read 2,682,475 times
Reputation: 4069
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrekker96 View Post
Yorktown has no train station. Something to keep in mind. I suggest you look at other towns on the Hudson Line (MTA.)

Towns like Dobbs Ferry, Tarrytown, Irvington are less commute time and have trains.
They can forget about finding a 3 bedroom 2 bath home with a two car garage with between .25 and .50 acre in Irvington in the $500,000 range. My wife and I were born and raised there. We still have friends and family there. It used to be a middle class town but those days are long gone.

Last edited by Ex New Yorker; 05-11-2021 at 10:22 AM..
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Old 05-12-2021, 09:25 AM
 
10 posts, read 13,241 times
Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by 987ABC View Post
If your work hours are 7 am to 3 pm and you drive in, then maybe also cross shop with the southeastern portion of Rockland - in particular South Orangetown, Pearl River, Nanuet and Nyack school districts. From South Orangetown and Pearl River you would only be 15 miles to the GWB. With those work hours, you can get over the bridge with not much hassle. Palisades Parkway would move fast also. It's a shorter commute by car. When house shopping, try to take advantage of market efficiencies. Rockland is underpriced compared to Westchester because you have to cross the Hudson to get to Manhattan. But if you can cross at effecient times (or not at all), than you can get more value for your price.

The Nyack SD is very diverse - more so than what you are otherwise looking at - also more liberal. Nanuet much less. PR and SO even less so.

If your significant other will be looking for work closer to home, these areas open up the possibility of working in NJ. Depending on his or her field, there may be a ton of opportunities. Its always good to look at multiple areas because all areas have pluses and minuses. The more areas you look at, the more likely you are to find a place where the pluses for you outweigh the minuses.
So our original plan was actually to move to Rockland county, but a loan officer we had some preliminary conversations with advised us of the higher stipulations/financial requirements that come with purchasing in Rockland. I'm not 100% sure of every detail he told me, but one thing I remember was him mentioning that the mortgage insurance in these areas are higher and also require 12 months of escrow whereas most other counties don't have that requirement. Is that true?
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Old 05-12-2021, 02:37 PM
 
3,116 posts, read 1,257,149 times
Reputation: 6964
Quote:
Originally Posted by vivEz daNs lamouR View Post
So our original plan was actually to move to Rockland county, but a loan officer we had some preliminary conversations with advised us of the higher stipulations/financial requirements that come with purchasing in Rockland. I'm not 100% sure of every detail he told me, but one thing I remember was him mentioning that the mortgage insurance in these areas are higher and also require 12 months of escrow whereas most other counties don't have that requirement. Is that true?
According to the NY State, there seems to be the same for different counties.

Quote:
The lender is not allowed to charge an excessive amount for the escrow account during the course of the loan, and there are limits on the amount that a lender may require you to put into the account.

The lender may require that you pay into the escrow account each month no more than 1/12 of the total of all payments needed during the year, plus an amount necessary to pay for any shortage in the account. In addition, the lender may require a cushion, not to exceed an amount equal to 1/6 of the total amount needed for the year.

The lender must perform an escrow account analysis once a year and notify you of any shortage, or surplus. The lender can require that you pay the amount needed to correct a shortage. If the escrow account has a surplus of more than $50, the lender must return that amount to the borrower.
https://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumers/hel...scrow_accounts

Some banks require home property insurance to be included in escrow and it was paid on a yearly basis. Other banks have you pay it yourself allowing you to choose yearly, quarterly or monthly.

There are great local community banks in Westchester and Rockland.

If you go with a large bank, like Wells Fargo or Bank of America, they will sell your loan.

We had a mortgage with Countrywide. When they were brought our mortgage was transferred to Bank of American. Bank of America sold our mortgage to a Texas company. It was like dealing with an auto chop shop operating out of a third world country. No one spoke english well enough to explain why they were taking additional withdraws out our checking account. After a lawyer's letter, they finally cleared it up and we switch to PCSB.

It's nice to have a community bank where they know you.

Last edited by YorktownGal; 05-12-2021 at 02:46 PM..
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Old 05-13-2021, 06:14 AM
 
750 posts, read 792,527 times
Reputation: 1093
Quote:
Originally Posted by vivEz daNs lamouR View Post
So our original plan was actually to move to Rockland county, but a loan officer we had some preliminary conversations with advised us of the higher stipulations/financial requirements that come with purchasing in Rockland. I'm not 100% sure of every detail he told me, but one thing I remember was him mentioning that the mortgage insurance in these areas are higher and also require 12 months of escrow whereas most other counties don't have that requirement. Is that true?
I have never heard of this. Could you have been using a different loan officer/company, and maybe that was the differing variable?
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