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Old 02-11-2010, 01:46 PM
 
5 posts, read 7,207 times
Reputation: 21

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Hi Everybody:

My wife and I moved from Europe to Westchester a few years ago. Currently, we own an apartment in Mamaroneck. We have an 11-month daughter and in the future would like to expand our family.

Prices in Larchmont, Harrison, Scarsdale etc. are killing us. My wife works part-time from home and we make in the low 200K combined. Yet we determined that once child care, cars payment etc. are taken care of, we can at most afford to upgrade to a house in the 650-700K range. (After selling at a loss our apt bought in '07).

Anybody could help us identify other areas within reasonable commuting distance from NY (35-45 minutes train ride), where we could afford something better like a 3-4 bedrooms house, good public schools and a bit of a yard. What I have seen around here in that $$range is depressing.

I would be open to relocation to NJ and LI (would have to convince wife). I am struggling to find any reasonable alternative in Westchester as it seems that is is either Bronxville, Scarsdale, Larchmont prices or the undesirable neighborhoods. Nothing in the middle within my commuting parameters.

Any help/suggestion is greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-11-2010, 03:39 PM
 
7,079 posts, read 35,843,941 times
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You're really not going to find anything different within your commuting parameters. You want what EVERYONE wants, so when people are selling what you're looking for, they get top dollar. Expand your commuting time, and you might find better options. You can't have it all and need to find an area in which to compromise.

I will say that property taxes ALL OVER within Westchester, Long Island, and New Jersey, in areas where you would find what you're looking for are beyond awful.
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Old 02-11-2010, 03:48 PM
 
132 posts, read 471,144 times
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Croton's express train isn't much beyond 45min and you could definitely get more house and yard there. Schools seems to be good as well.
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Old 02-11-2010, 04:06 PM
 
Location: Manhattan
349 posts, read 914,968 times
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In Westchester, your price range is in line with the median selling price which is now in the low $600s so I'm surprise you haven't been able to find anything where you have looked. Anyway,
I know you can find some 3-4 bedrooms with close to $3000 sq ft in Croton-On-Hudson in your price range and the commute is about 42-44 minutes. If your willing to drive 10-15 minutes from the train station, you could get even more in Yorktown Heights. I think you'll have a greater selection on Long Island since the median price is much lower. Roslyn has a good school district and is about a 45 minute commute (about 30 minutes if you leave from Manhasset which is nearby). I suggest that you take a look at the LI multiple listing service at www.mlslirealtor.com to get an idea of what you would find there.
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Old 02-12-2010, 08:45 AM
 
218 posts, read 528,030 times
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I live in White Plains myself and can't say enough good things about the Highlands neighborhood (roughly speaking, the area between Prospect St on the North, Soundview Ave on the West, Old Mamaroneck Rd on the East, and Hartsdale Ave on the South). Lots of tudors and colonials. It shouldn't be a problem finding a 3-4 bedroom home in your price range, but it will be older and probably around 2000 sq ft. The homes aren't in disrepair or anything, but many of them need new kitchens and baths. If this ends up being the case, the house should be towards the bottom of your price range leaving you with $100k or so to put towards the renovations.

Great neighborhood and an easy NYC commute. The sticking point is how you feel about the schools. They're not on par test score wise with the more affluent, smaller districts but my personal feeling is that this has more to do with White Plains' socioeconomic diversity than with the quality of the schools themselves. Obviuosly, you need to figure out where you come out on this. All I can say is that I had pretty much the same criteria as you when I was looking for a house 2 years ago, and this is where I ended up. Good luck!
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Old 02-12-2010, 09:15 AM
 
374 posts, read 947,937 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommya View Post
I live in White Plains myself and can't say enough good things about the Highlands neighborhood (roughly speaking, the area between Prospect St on the North, Soundview Ave on the West, Old Mamaroneck Rd on the East, and Hartsdale Ave on the South). Lots of tudors and colonials. It shouldn't be a problem finding a 3-4 bedroom home in your price range, but it will be older and probably around 2000 sq ft. The homes aren't in disrepair or anything, but many of them need new kitchens and baths. If this ends up being the case, the house should be towards the bottom of your price range leaving you with $100k or so to put towards the renovations.

Great neighborhood and an easy NYC commute. The sticking point is how you feel about the schools. They're not on par test score wise with the more affluent, smaller districts but my personal feeling is that this has more to do with White Plains' socioeconomic diversity than with the quality of the schools themselves. Obviuosly, you need to figure out where you come out on this. All I can say is that I had pretty much the same criteria as you when I was looking for a house 2 years ago, and this is where I ended up. Good luck!
I was going to recommend the same area, but I didn't think they would would be interested in the smaller homes, and the less affluent schools (they mentioned scarsdale). Also, the renovation requirement is huge. Just because you buy under your limit, doesn't mean you have that extra cash. So they won't have the extra $100k to renovate...unless they take out a second mortgage.
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Old 02-14-2010, 01:35 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,919 posts, read 28,024,600 times
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Have you considered Pleasantville? It's approaching the maximum of your commute range, but there are some decent houses in your price range. And, if you expanded your search into neighboring areas of Thornwood or Valhalla, you might increase the likelihood of finding a good property. Property taxes are going to be at standard, Westchester rates, but the schools are good, and the commute is reasonable.

If you want property tax relief, I'd not look to NJ or LI, but to CT. Property taxes are less expensive, but there's debate about the schools, since that's a key reason why Westchester has the higher property taxes, multiple school districts.
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:03 AM
 
395 posts, read 1,471,526 times
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We have been renting in Pleasantville since June having started our search here back in Feb of last year, and I can honestly say there is not much available in that price range that is not A) under 2000 sq ft, B) $18-$20k taxes, and/or C) needing major kitchen/bath updates. If being able to walk to the village/train/schools is important (there are no school buses), this limits the inventory even further. We have seen maybe 3-4 properties max in the village under $800k.

As many have said here, everyone is looking for the same thing and when those properties come up - walkable village location, decent condition, decent taxes, etc. they often generate multiple bids even in this supposedly depressed market. While our first preference would have been to stay in P-ville, we ended up expanding our search to Hawthorne/Thornwood and Chappaqua, and are now in contract on a great home in Chappaqua. Oddly enough despite its reputation, we found more and better options in the <$800k range in Chappaqua with comparable or even lower taxes for larger lots and homes than in P-ville. The commute is actually a bit easier than P-ville as there are more frequent express trains with the same 46 - 48 min ride to GCT.

Hope this helps - good luck!
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