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Old 07-30-2008, 03:03 PM
 
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Hello all
Okay, so my husband and I are newly married (aka: don't have much money) and we live in Harlem. Our income is due to get a big boost this year and we're beginning to think about moving out of the city, but still within a commutable distance (hopefully less than an hour.)

Our budget is small - we probably need to find something well under $300,000. we only really NEED 1 bedroom, but it'd be nice to have 2. We just want some green space, maybe (hopefully!) a little yard and we'd like to be in a town that has some activity, nightlife, and hopefully the arts.

Don't laugh now! I know, it's a tall order and I'm beginning to think it might not exist, but I thought maybe someone would have a miraculous place that I've overlooked.

Thanks in advance,
KD
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Old 07-30-2008, 10:52 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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Actually, I think you'd be surprised at the number of houses that do fall within your price range in several areas. I am focusing exclusively on single family houses, though some towns do have townhouses which can be more affordable and offer the small yard that you would desire. A town that would fit your needs, though not the price range, is Croton-on-Hudson, since I think it would be next to impossible to find a house at $300k or less. However, within a few minutes' drive, you have Cortlandt and Cortlandt Manor, which do have cottages in your desired price range. Peekskill is another town to consider, a little above Cortlandt on the Hudson River, as parts of it are up and coming it has a good number of affordable properties, some of which are in decent areas.

Across the river, you can sometimes find cottages in the Nyack area for just under $300k. Nyack is a great town for everything that you desire, but the commute is a little more aggravating, since Rockland to the city is not always that easy a proposition.
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Old 07-31-2008, 06:55 AM
 
Location: Peekskill, NY
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My s.o. and I have been looking for the past six months or so and are buying something in Peekskill. Our budget was a little higher than yours, but we were also looking to find something as inexpensive as possible. As long as you're ok with something on the smaller side, and that would likely need some work, I second bmwguydc's suggests of northern westchester - peekskill or croton seem to have the most going on town wise, but you could also find a house that would fit your needs in Cortlandt, Yorktown or possibly Ossining (though I found Ossining to have the least going on town wise) and the surrounding areas and then be a short drive to reach a villiage center. What type of house are you interested in? (for example, we were looking for something older, not big fans of most post 50s ranch style homes).
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Old 07-31-2008, 08:17 AM
 
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Default type of house

Thanks for the replies so far!
Re: the type of house we want, we're really not picky. We don't have any real style or old/new preferences. We're not crazy about the 70s ranch style either, but hey, it's a starter home. And I'm certainly not opposed to a townhouse either - would those be cheaper?
-KD
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Old 07-31-2008, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Peekskill, NY
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Townhouses/condos are generally less expensive, ranches not necessarily, but also in general seem to be a bit "discounted" possiblity because there are a lot of them for sale. We looked at some townhouse type condos in Mt. Kisco that might work well for you, priced in the low 300s and as far as I know still available, so could ultimately sell for less. We ultimately decided we wanted a single family, but they definitely had some potential and Mt. Kisco seems to have a decent amount going for it in terms of restaurants, retail, etc. and Mt. Kisco might be a bit closer in for a city commute. I still recommend checking out Peekskill and the surrounding area as well - in fact, what I really recommend is just spend some time exploring in general, especially if you are not under a deadline to move - there is always the chance of finding a deal in another area of Westchester too, although they are rare, and will definitely need a lot of work.

Last edited by NJGirl12; 07-31-2008 at 08:26 AM.. Reason: Premature posting
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Old 07-31-2008, 10:23 AM
 
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Default good options

thanks!
I've been looking at peekskill and cortlandt manor online and found some reasonable properties! I've heard mixed things about Peekskill - basically that some areas of town aren't very nice. Do you think it's generally safe though? Mt. Kisco is a good idea too.
thanks for your help
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Old 07-31-2008, 11:19 AM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
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In my experience, people who find Peekskill scary or dangerous are usually people who have limited experience with cities. Peekskill is really just a big town, but it definitely has some city issues--if that makes you uncomfortable it may not be right for you. But it has a lot of charm, many wonderful amenities, great houses, and excellent parks. Check out the police blotter (published weekly in the North County News) and you'll see that what little crime there is is almost all domestic violence or drug-related (dealer on dealer)--in other words, it won't affect you (unless you buy drugs, of course). I've never seen a mugging, (non-domestic) assualt, or break-in recorded. My advice is to spend some time there and see how it feels. Since you live in Harlem, I imaine that Peekskill will seem quite mellow. While I personally would not want to live in Peekskill, I love being 10 minutes from it and we go there most weekends (fabulous coffee house and the best riverfront park). Also, with the many artists, galleries, art center, etc in town it is definitely one of the younger and hipper towns around.
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Old 07-31-2008, 11:43 AM
 
Location: Peekskill, NY
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We have not moved yet, so I don't have a ton of personal experience to base this on, but I would second dma1250's remarks (except of course I am planning on living there A search of this forum will reveal that there are mixed feelings on Peekskill, but I've never seen anything that made me feel unsafe. It does have a higher population of lower income people than much of Westchester, but I like that it's a bit more diverse (and this also probably contributes to it being more affordable) and we were actually looking to get a little away from the suburban, white-bread type of environment (we don't have kids) while still having a good size yard and a garage. I've never lived in Harlem, but currently living in Wash Hgts/Inwood - Broadway near Ft. Tryon park. I feel comfortable walking my dog around there later at night, but I would generally say that, in my opinion, Peekskill feels a few steps up on my personal "safety" scale, if that makes any sense. Again, best advice is too start exploring a bit on your own - that was one of our favorite parts. Mt. Kisco, Croton, Ossining and Peekskill are all somewhat accessible by train, you'd probably need a car to explore the surrounding areas. If you want an agent recommendation, pm me.
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Old 07-31-2008, 05:27 PM
 
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Houses in the Campwoods Grounds area of Ossining might work for you. They are in the 300K price range for 2-3 bedrooms. There may be some one bedroom houses, but I'm not sure. If there are, they may be under 300K. Lot of artists and bohemian types live there. The houses are cottages with small yards. The catch to the low prices is that the homeowner does not own the land that the house sits on, but leases it (for a very low price).
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Old 07-31-2008, 09:22 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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Be sure to check the condo association fees on a townhouse, since a less expensive purchase price can equal the price on a more expensive home if the fees are excessive. That said, there is the trade-off with exterior maintenance and such done for you with condos. With the land-lease situation, that can be a sticky issue for some mortgage lenders, so I would investigate that aspect fully before committing to a cottage in Ossining.

I would not needlessly fear Peekskill, and this comes from someone raised between Bedford-Katonah and Manhattan. Some parts are less desirable, but as others have said, it's not rampant street crime such as one would find in some of the grittier parts of the city. And, remember, this is all relative, compared to Yorktown, Somers, Croton, Bedford, Lewisboro, etc., Peekskill is a little grittier, but the perception is based upon a comparison to the general affluence of that swath of Northern Westchester, which was never as industrially developed as the river towns were. And, Peekskill has fewer problems today than it did a decade or so ago, when there was much more of a crime problem in the town.

You can find a cute cottage or a nice townhouse in the area, which is great for a starter home. I would recommend what other posters have done, to drive around Peeksill and Cortlandt and look at the area, generally. You will see some good parts, and some parts that are more up-and-coming, but the area has a lot to offer in terms of recreation, parkland, proximity to the city, and a feeling of being in the country. And, the commute is a lot easier than the other side of the river and parts of Putnam.
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