Shopping for Real Estate in Westchester County can be daunting. It’s not like Manhattan, or Long Island or other parts of the Metropolitan area. It’s a challenge for a beginner to zero in a on town, a school district and, in some cases even to zero in on Tax Assessments, services and other integral facts.

So what are the key things to know upfront?

1) Most people shop in Westchester by School District.

Let’s take my town for example. I live in Chappaqua. I bought a home here because of the world renowned Chappaqua School District. But you don’t need to live in Chappaqua to be part of the Chappaqua School District. Parts of Pleasantville, Mount Kisco and Mount Pleasant are also part of the Chappaqua School district. This is true in many parts of the county. So, when searching for Westchester Real Estate, use a site like that will allow you to search by school district

2) Your services, outside of schools, like Garbage, train station parking rights, libraries, sanitation, town pools etc are controlled by your Town.

Again, let’s take Chappaqua. Most of the Chappaqua school district is governed by the ‘Town of New Castle’ and a sliver by the ‘Town of Mount Pleasant’. Again, noting these facets could have major implications on your daily life.

3) It’s hard to know what the true property taxes are.

One Hot-Button issue amongst most of my buyers is property taxes in Westchester County. A smart buyer wants to know not only what the current annual taxes are but if they are likely to rise or fall after purchasing a property. Answering this question is challenging for two reasons. First, tax assessments listed on websites are meaningless without knowing multipliers for all Westchester Towns and second, many aggregator sites like Trulia or Zillow pull old or inaccurate assessments. Want to know the actual tax number and if a property’s taxes are a candidate for grieving? Call us, were happy to answer.

So now you’re ahead of the game. Years ago you would have needed a traditional realtor to educate you on these types of details. But not anymore. If you’ve done your research on the area and you know how to navigate Trulia or Zillow, your need for a real estate agent is now minimal. It’s not non-existent, but it’s minimal. So why not seek out a firm who can offer you a broker commission rebate and help you pay for your home. After all, you’re doing all the legwork, should you earn money for that?