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Old 05-29-2008, 01:42 PM
 
3 posts, read 9,493 times
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We need some help regarding Westchester cost of living. We know the basics (property tax, vehicle insurance, housing prices, etc). Those expense are much higher than we are accustomed coming from Atlanta. However, we have a feeling that the real impact of the cost of living difference won't hit until we move. Since this is anonymous, I'm talking numbers: married couple, no kids for the next couple of years, making $200k combined, living somewhere between White Plains and Bronxville along the Metro North line. The question is: what can we afford in the area? There are a lot of basic homes (3 bed, 2 bath) in nice areas with taxes up to $11k per year, selling price up to $700k. Can we afford to do that or do we need to go with a lower cost Condo or Co-op to give ourselves more cushion in our budget. I realize some of this is subjective, but a locals perspective would be great!

Thanks!!
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Old 05-29-2008, 02:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nysearch View Post
Can we afford to do that or do we need to go with a lower cost Condo or Co-op to give ourselves more cushion in our budget. I realize some of this is subjective, but a locals perspective would be great!
Thanks!!
____
Your income is very nice but I would not push it and buy a 700K house yet. It is not only the cost of the house but the money you need to support it (think heat, repairs-you already know about the taxes) Westchester is expensive as you know, and you will be new so should give yourself some room. You don't need to do a co-op but maybe a condo/townhouse may be your answer. After the cost of housing, what will drain your income in a few years is childcare, which could set you back 1K a month or more depending on what you want your children to have.
Good luck with your choice!
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Old 05-29-2008, 02:08 PM
 
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Are you buying or renting? If you're buying your morgage payment is also going to depend on how much you can put down, so really you need to give more info. $200K is very good even for around here, I am going to venture and say that with that income u can probably afford around $2,500-3,000 a month in housing costs? You have no kids so you don't have to worry about kids care, that's a plus for you.
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Old 05-29-2008, 05:20 PM
 
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Default Cost in Westchester

Thanks for the replies, both. We plan to buy. Not looking for anything large, probably under 2000 square feet, 3 bed, 2 bath in a really good neighborhood. I'd like to find something in the low-mid 600k range with 20% down. Believe it or not, when you include a budget of $2500/yr utility, property tax of $10k after star credit, and home insurance, that is a $4000 per month housing cost. It seems high and we don't want to overextend ourselves. One will be commuting north by car and the other commuting to manhattan by train. I'm struggling between buying a house or a condo - buying twice is very expensive considering the high closing fees in NY. Any more input would be appreciated!
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Old 05-29-2008, 08:42 PM
 
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I think you will be ok purchasing a home in low to mid 600's, but you may be suprised to see what you get in that price range in lower Westchester in a good school district. If you don't care about schools- then you will be able to find something. Best of luck!
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Old 05-30-2008, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
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In general, I personally think the best advice is always to buy a house that is unique and needs work. In your case, you can buy an older house for low 600's and put 50 to 75K into renovations. When you're done you'll have something special--which will be worth more than you invested in it (even if the market goes down). Unique nicely renovated homes do better financially than cookie-cutter houses, and most people move to Westchester to attain the dream of home ownership--not to buy a condo or co-op.
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Old 06-01-2008, 03:42 AM
 
Location: Tarrytown, NY
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I would recommend living within walking distance of the train; with the escalating cost of gas.

I actually have distant family from the Marietta area.

A house in Hartsdale, for instance selling near $700k would run you $16k in taxes. Dont forget the STAR deduction of approximately $2k

You may want to consider a condo so you can adjust to Westchester cost of living and not worry about property maintenance.

Do you prefer a certain style of house? You definetly need to sit down with each other and come up with your priorities. Back Yard, Walk to train, Family room, Style of house, updated kitchen, etc? You will also find that Westchester offers River Towns, bustling cities, and quint hamlets...

It is not the house, it is THE LOCATION. A house you can change the community will affect you in many ways. All the best for finding your dream home.

Last edited by Viralmd; 06-01-2008 at 05:40 AM.. Reason: Soliciting
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Old 06-01-2008, 11:36 AM
 
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Default Walk to Train

John - Thanks for the advice. We're curious to hear your definition of "walk to train". I see a lot of posts for houses that boast "walk to train"..what is realistic. Some are as far out as 1+ miles from the station. Is that realistic for all situations and all times of the year?

Thanks!
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:09 PM
 
Location: Rye Brook
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Hi,
You could probably comfortably afford a mortgage of around 5-600K. You can find a house in White Plains, Hartsdale or Valhalla in that price range with taxes under 11K.

All the best!

Kevin O'Shea
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Old 06-04-2008, 02:43 PM
 
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My best suggestion to you is make a budget of your current monthly costs and income for the past year. Replace your current mortgage and taxes/utilities with your estimated new costs when you move and see what you come out with. No one can tell you what you can afford unless they know all your costs/monthly spending and your income. If you have other debt like credit cards etc, you have to budget paying them down as well. That is the best way to determine what you can afford. Of course, your income less expenses should not be zero. You should have some net income remaining for savings/unusual expenses.
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