Westchester County Real Estate
As a Broker selling real estate in Westchester County, I have a myriad of different tasks that I must perform for my clients looking at homes for sale in Chappaqua or in other areas throughout the county. I need to assist my home buyers in narrowing down the areas in which they want to buy a home including offering tours of Westchester County’s top-rated school districts. I then need to help my clients find the best property for their needs and help them to negotiate the best price in which to buy it.
My job does not stop there. I then need to hold my clients’ hands throughout the transaction from the signing of the contract, the handling of the inspection and the appraisal, the walk-through and finally the closing. In addition, there can and will be a litany of issues that arise in almost every transaction and myself and my agents are always sure to help out in every way possible.
The process of buying a new home is especially intimidating for first-time home buyers. This is often the largest purchase of an individual’s life. Unfortunately, it is also full of many risks and pitfalls. An essential part of my job is making sure that my clients are aware of and adequately mitigate some of those specific risks. Some of the risks are hidden, and others are visible in plain sight.
Risks When Purchasing Homes for Sale in Westchester
One advantage to choosing a seasoned and experienced real estate agent is the fact that an experienced agent will have taken part in many transactions and have seen first hand the dangers that lurk around every corner. In short, the buyer needs to be working with an agent who knows what risks to look out for. Here are some of those risks.
Wire Fraud in Westchester Real Estate Transactions
Last year I had the honor of working with an amazing family who found a house to buy in Eastchester which is on the southern portion of Westchester County. This deal went quite smoothly through the search, the negotiation, and the ensuing inspection. One morning about one week before the closing of escrow on the property I received a frantic call from my client. It turned out that my client had received an email from his attorney with instructions on where to send a wire with funds for the closing. My client wired the funds, which was for tens of thousands of dollars. Later, when my client called his attorney, he realized that he had been a victim of a scam.
It turns out that my buyer’s attorney had his email hacked and the email which was fraudulently sent to my buyer included false wiring instructions. My client lost his money with and had virtually no recourse.
This nightmare can be avoided easily. I now make it a point in every transaction to tell my buyers that they should never send a wire. It is safer and still reasonably fast to send a cashier’s check overnight to the selling attorney. Any conversation about funding with an attorney should be verified over the telephone. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. Always err on the side of caution.
Fix & Flip in Westchester County
There are many homes in Westchester County that were purchased by investors who renovate the property and flip them for a profit. Most of these properties are tremendous values for a new home buyer. They are attractive because they seemingly need very little work in order to move in and it relieves the buyer of knowing that they have extensive and expensive renovations in front of them. However, some of these properties can be very cheaply renovated and by inexperienced or non-licensed contractors, leaving the buyer open to many expensive fixes that must be completed down the road.
The best way we know of to avoid this pitfall is to make sure that the property is very carefully inspected by a known, respected and licensed home inspector in New York State. At NestEdge Realty we are always happy to recommend several of the inspectors whom we work with regularly but are willing to work with any inspector the buyer chooses so long as he is licensed. A great inspector is worth every dime spent on him or her because the information that the inspector uncovers will help the homeowner to avoid unpleasant surprises down the road.
Many new home buyers in Westchester County are drawn to the area because Westchester County is home to some of the highest ranked school districts in New York State And some of the easiest and quickest commutes to Manhattan.
One reason that buyers are worried about purchasing a home in Westchester County is that the property taxes in Westchester County are some of the highest in New York State.
With Westchester’s County Property taxes, commute times from Westchester to Manhattan and school district zoning being such hot button issues it is imperative to verify information such as zoning, tax assessments, and train station parking rights before selecting a home.
As ridiculous as it sounds there are instances where home buyers close on a property and find out that they are taxed higher than they expected, are not zoned for the school district they expected, or don’t have rights to park at their local train station.
Zillow is an excellent tool for homebuyers, but there are downsides to Zillow and similar services. Firstly, the Zestimate is a useless number that often confuses buyers and sellers. Also, Zillow is known to have inaccurate and or old information when it comes to tax assessments and school district zoning. A smart home buyer should rely on their real estate agent to provide written proof of tax assessments, school district zoning, and parking regulations. This is easily attainable through local town government offices.
At NestEdge Realty our agents work hard to make sure that our buyer clients avoid the pitfalls of buying real estate in Westchester County. However, we take our advantages one step further. NestEdge Realty offers broker commission rebates that are higher than Redfin’s rebate in Westchester. With the Broker Commission Rebate at our disposal, we can help our buyers avoid the mansion tax or even significantly lower their closing costs. Call us, we would love to help.