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Old 09-15-2009, 08:37 AM
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We may be moving to the NYC area in the next year or so and I'm trying to do some preliminary research on places for us to live. We have a one year old child and excellent schools are probably our number one consideration. I would also love a vibrant downtown, and no more than a 45 minute train ride to Grand Central. We definitely don't want to live somewhere that feels very isolated or is solely populated by strip malls.

Can you recommend an area in Westchester that meets our criteria where we could find a single family 3 bedroom house for 800K? I realize that Westchester housing is extremely expensive and if we had to compromise I would rather have a smaller house but be in a more convenient and vibrant location. Thanks for your help!
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Old 09-15-2009, 11:36 AM
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Take a look at this old thread where people discuss the schools. In this thread (pg 9, I think), there is also a list by SAT scores. People argue the merits of using SAT scores as a ranking tool, but I think it gives you a good starting picture. //www.city-data.com/forum/westc...er-county.html

Then use this metro north site to check out the train schedule to figure out the commute. mta.info | Metro-North Railroad

Lastly, find a MLS site that lets you search by school districts (as opposed to only by town names) and research based on your price range. Be wary when you search that you are not searching by town names because within the same given town you can have multiple school districts.

For 800K price point, you will find that you are at the lower end of the spectrum in "elite" districts like Scarsdale, Edgemont, and Bronxville. And get ready to puke when you see the taxes. Compare your findings in these top districts vs those in lesser ranked districts (but still very very excellent) such as Pleasantville, Rye Neck, and bunch of others and you will see you get more value and slightly less tax in those towns.

Personally, I like Pleasantville.
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Old 09-15-2009, 07:49 PM
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My first thought was the Edgewood Section of Scarsdale which is the more "affordable" section of Scarsdale. Great neighborhood, great schools and a decent downtown - not sure if you would call it "vibrant", but there is a town center.
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Old 09-15-2009, 08:57 PM
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Look into Rye Brook. Blind-brook school district. Rated on par with the best in Westchester. Rye Brook does not have any downtown, but the nearby city of Rye does.
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Old 09-15-2009, 10:09 PM
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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I'd recommend looking into Pelham, with a quick commute and shopping areas that are not one large strip mall. I would also say to look in border areas, that are the P.O.'s in Westchester.

The Town of Eastchester, for example, has parts that are close to Scarsdale and Bronxville (with respective zip codes) that would be more apt to fall within your price range, and Eastchester schools are respectable. Tuckahoe, Crestwood, Bronxville, and Scarsdale would be the train stations along this route, but Bronxville straddles Yonkers as well -- and you would want to stay in Eastchester for either Eastchester or Tuckahoe school districts.

Pleasantville might also be worth a look, though it's closer to 50 minutes to Grand Central, unless you're on one of the earlier trains that are scheduled for 45 minutes. Pleasantville is also on the Harlem Line.

On the Hudson Line, you should look at Dobbs Ferry, Hastings-on-Hudson, and perhaps Irvington (though a single-family home would be tough in Irvington at that price point). All of these areas have small town centers that anchor the respective community, not suburban sprawl in every direction.

Larchmont might be worth a look if you don't mind a smaller house, since it's got a great downtown, convenient train, good schools, and is close to the Sound. Not many houses are around $800k, but there are some smaller houses in Larchmont that would range up to $800k or so.
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:16 PM
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Doesn't Larchmont use Mamoraneck high school?
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:52 PM
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You could get something in Briarcliff for 800k though it may be in a more modest nieghborhood and/or might need work. Commute is 42 minutes on the train and schools are great.
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Old 09-16-2009, 08:37 PM
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Default Understanding the geography of "New Yawk"

lak29, in case you are unfamiliar with the local geography:

What people refer to colloquially as "towns" are actually villages and hamlets, which are within actual towns; and, because villages and hamlets are referred to as "towns", then, many times, the error is compounded when actual towns are referred to as "townships".

Also, many colloquially refer to a "downtown business district" in a hamlet as a "village".

//www.city-data.com/forum/new-y...-glossary.html may be of some help to you in understanding the geography of "New Yawk".

You can get a fact sheet for any city, village or hamlet in New York by going here American FactFinder and input the name of the city, village or hamlet for "city/town" (leave out the ZIP Code) and New York for "State", and then click "GO".

You'll get a lot of demographic, and some economic, statistics for the city, village or hamlet you selected, and if you click on "Reference map" (it's on the right hand side), you'll get a map.

When you do find a house that you like, you can find out in which community (city, village or CDP) that house is actually located, which is oftentimes different from the community named in that house's mailing address, by using the Census Bureau's online address search function. (CDP or Census Designated Place is the Census Bureau equivalent for a hamlet in "New Yawk".)

And, very importantly, among other things, the Census Bureau's online address search function also indicates in which school district an address is located.
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Old 09-17-2009, 06:41 AM
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OP here--thanks for all the helpful information!
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Old 09-20-2009, 08:09 AM
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We just moved to Pleasantville this summer and are very happy with our decision. My daughter started first grade and loves it. The village itself is friendly, down to earth, with a quaint walkable downtown and people here seem to have such a sense of pride for their village and schools. In the latest Newsweek report Pleasantville schools ranked above many of the "elite" Westchester districts. P-ville is centrally located and we spend a lot of time in neighboring Chappaqua and Briarcliff, both lovely communities I would also recommend. You would definitely find something in your price point here and in Briarcliff come spring (right now there are slim pickings). Chappaqua is also suprisingly more affordable in comparison to lower Westchester, even with what is considered an elite school district. The taxes seem to be a bit lower in Chappaqua than P-ville or Briarcliff.

P-ville and Chappaqua both have express 46 minute trains for the morning and evening commutes. Personally I am really enjoying the time on the train. It beats driving in Los Angeles traffic any day!

Good luck!

p.s. want to add that before deciding on P-ville we had been focusing our search on the river towns and although we loved the idea of being close to the Hudson, we found that taxes there are much higher and you do get less home for your money. Many of the lots on those steep hills have issues or just lack a flat yard for kids if that's important to you. We found a few homes we really liked in Ardsley but were discouraged by the lack of train station. In the end we decided to move our search north thinking that adding 10-15 minutes to the commute was worth having more space and lower taxes.

Last edited by cali_to_nj; 09-20-2009 at 08:15 AM.. Reason: adding p.s.
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