Westchester Real Estate
In my job representing buyers of real estate in Westchester County, I come across various types of clients. The most common type of homebuyer that I serve are families that are growing. Generally, these families are currently living in or around New York City and are coming north in search of that perfect suburban home. These buyers often have very similar wish lists and are generally shopping in towns with an easy commute into Manhattan and within a top rated Westchester school district.
Though it has not always been the case, recently I am finding that buyers are generally attracted to newly renovated or mint condition homes. Most buyers that I am coming across in recent times are not willing to put in the time or money necessary to renovate a home. To me, that has been a key trend, and one three trends that I am seeing in the market.
Westchester County Property Taxes
The second of these trends is a very keen focus on Westchester County Property taxes. Up until recently home buyers would approach me to represent them, find them the perfect home and pay them a broker commission rebate to help reduce their considerable closing costs or to avoid paying the mansion tax. One of the first steps in that process would be the discussion of the budget and exactly how much my buyer would want to spend on new homes in Chappaqua or in other great areas. This conversation is often centered around one number: the home price. This has changed. In more recent times, I am also made aware how much my buyers are willing to spend in annual Westchester County property taxes, which is a combination of both local school district taxes and Westchester County taxes.
The desire to stay within the desired budget on property taxes in Westchester County is a wise one. After all, New York State is one of the highest taxed states in the country, and along with Nassau County, Westchester County has some of the highest property taxes in the state. To make matters worse, under the new tax laws that took effect on January 1st of 2018, only 10 thousand dollars per year per household can be written off of one’s Federal Income taxes. This is a change that has hit high-value Westchester County property owners very hard.
The third of these trends has been a strengthening of the housing market in Westchester County on the lower end and a substantial weakening of Westchester County Real Estate on the High end. In essence, we have a seller’s market for lower-priced properties and a buyer’s market, one that invites low-ball bidding, on the higher end.
All of the above has started a trend…buyers in Westchester County are drawn to townhomes, or, Town-Houses. I felt that this trend gave me a perfect time to illustrate the Pros and Cons of Single Family Homes and Townhomes.
Single Family Homes for Sale in Westchester County
The predominant type of home found in the Westchester Real Estate market are single family homes. These homes vary wildly in terms of size, price, and style. I can say with much confidence, that a single family home exists for every style and budget.
• Variety: Single-family homes exist in Westchester County starting as low as $150,000 and range to well over 20 million dollars. Whether a buyer is looking for a small starter home with 2 bedrooms and 1200 square feet or a mansion, options are available. My specialty is homes for sale in Chappaqua, and in the Chappaqua School District alone, we have homes on the market for 300k, all the way up to 13 million dollars.
• Privacy: Single-family homes, especially in Westchester County afford its owners privacy. In fact, many towns north of 287 have subdivisions where 1-acre zoning is the absolute minimum lot size. Your neighbors won’t see you, and you won’t see…or hear…. your neighbors
• Freedom: The owners of single-family homes enjoy the right to alter their properties as they see fit. Of course, there are certain restrictions that the town might enforce, in the form of ordinances, but in general, this is true. This would not be the case in a townhome community.
• High Tax Bills: As discussed above the biggest downside to Westchester County real estate are the high property taxes that homeowners must pay. Single-family homes are taxed higher than communities that have HOA fees.
• Upkeep: Owners of single-family homes assume the full responsibility of maintenance on their property. This includes keeping your home in good condition and fixing items like roofs, boilers, furnaces etc. Single-family homes also require a significant amount of landscaping. Landscaping and snow plowing bills could be quite high.
• Marketability: It generally takes more time to sell a single-family home as opposed to any other type of property.
Town Homes for Sale in Westchester County:
One note before I present the pros and cons of living in a townhome. I struggled with putting “Vertical Living” in either the Pro or the Con section. This is a key difference between the two property types, but whether it is a pro or a con will vary depending on the home buyer.
Since townhomes are attached, they tend to be quite narrow. Though Townhomes can have a similar amount of square footage when compared to single family homes, it is common to see living space in a townhome exist on three or four levels, while a single-family home is generally on one, two or three levels. Some see this as a positive and some see this as negative. With young children, the constant movement between floors can add a level of difficulty not experienced in single-family homes.
• Cost: Townhomes are generally less expensive than single-family homes in similar areas. A single-family home and a townhome that have a same amount of square footage could have a vast difference in price.
• Taxes: Taxes might be the biggest differentiator between townhomes and single-family homes. In general, townhomes have tax assessments and tax bills that are considerably lower than similarly sized single-family properties. Note. This may not be true for newly constructed townhome communities. Similar to single-family homes, townhome communities that are considered new construction tend to be assessed significantly higher than older properties.
• Upkeep: Keeping a property in good condition in a townhome community is both cheaper and easier than a single family home. Homeowners in townhome communities pay HOA fees. These fees generally cover landscaping, roofs, common areas, and other shared amenities. The upkeep is both managed for the homeowner and is often less than a single-family home would pay for a similar service.
• Amenities: Many Townhome communities in Westchester County offer amenities like on-site gyms and swimming pools. Some townhome developments even provide shuttles for its residents to nearby train stations for quick and easy commuting without having to deal with parking shortages.
• Lack of Privacy: Townhomes are considered “connected homes”. Because of this many homes have shared driveways and shared interior walls. These facets add up to a lack of privacy compared to single-family homes.
• Rules: Residents of townhome communities have to adhere to rules set forth by the board of the community. Residents are generally not permitted to alter their properties exteriors in any way.
• Transient Nature: Perhaps the biggest downside to living in a townhome community in Westchester County is that the residents tend to be transient. Many townhome residents use the community as a starter homes and as the first stop for a growing family’s journey to the suburbs.
Broker Commission Rebate
Not sure what type of home you want yet? NestEdge Realty can help you by offering guided tours of both single-family homes and townhome communities. Better yet, NestEdge Realty can also help you pay for your new home, or help you pay for renovations and upgrades by offering a generous broker commission rebate.