Westchester County NY REsource

Welcome to the number one real estate source for Westchester County NY!

Yes...those capital letters in resource is not a mistake.

RE equals real estate =)

It is no secret that my love for this area stems from growing up here during my early childhood. However, what I find even more amazing is how the Westchester County real estate market has grown within the past two years. Being in the thick of all these transactions has been fun but I am a “numbers guy”.

Although I hated statistics in college, I love studying real estate and analyzing even the basic statistics. It really sheds light on what has been going on lately. I guess my professor was right … NUMBERS DON’T LIE! 

Nonetheless, Westchester County NY real estate is unlike any other market. We have the highest property taxes in the country and the bubble that burst in the past decade did not hit us as hard as other states and markets.

If you would like to learn more about real estate in Westchester County NY or anywhere, then feel free to reach out by phone or email. I can tell you that, unlike most, I do not find this boring.

You can also find out more local information by following us on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, and YOUTUBE

Check out the latest market housing report as provided by our local MLS board - Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service - for Westchester County

 

 

 

 

May 26, 2020

19 William St Unit#1C Mount Vernon NY 10552

Looking for an updated coop in the heart of Fleetwood? This 2BR unit has tons of character! Awaiting you are original hardwood floors and high ceilings to complement the architectural detail that flows through this home. The modern kitchen will make it easy to enjoy cooking every night complete with stainless appliances and modern finishes.  Walk through every inch of this home with our comprehensive, vigorous virtual tour right now and you will notice the plethora of natural light.

 

VIRTUAL TOUR BELOW:

To learn more about this unit, or if you are interested in a private viewing, all you need to do is click the link below to schedule a brief call with our office:

CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE

 

April 14, 2020

6 Fort Hill Lane in Scarsdale NY 10583

Looking for an updated home in the Edgemont school district of Scarsdale NY? This updated 4BR, 3.5BA ranch has an open concept that is unrivaled! The flow that runs across the living area and kitchen is filled with gleaming hardwood floors and tons of natural light. Walk through every inch of this home with our comprehensive, vigorous virtual tour right now!

 

VIRTUAL TOUR BELOW:

To learn more about this home, or if you are interested in a private viewing, all you need to do is click the link below to schedule a brief call with our office:

CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE

 

March 2, 2020

2020 Housing Market

 

2020 Housing Market

 

As you can see, although the Coronavirus scare is driving down the stock market, housing still has a strong outlook for this year.

Due to advantageous interest rates AND price appreciation starting to normalize, the real estate market, especially in Westchester County, is projected to have a great year!

Interest rates are lower by almost 1% over last year!!! This equates to an estimated $250 per month savings on a mortgage of about $400,000.

 

 

Dec. 27, 2019

Selling Your Home During The Holidays

 

 

Most people think selling during the holidays is pointless. Is it really?

Here are a couple of things to consider:

 

1) Demand is strong! - Interest rates are still extremely low which makes it perfect for someone looking to buy NOW rather than later. There are many buyers looking to buy now so they can reap future equity as soon as possible.

2) Less competition! - There are many home owners looking to wait until the spring market to list their home. If you live in a desirable neighborhood, then you can end up being the only available home in the area. Depending on the buyer's situation, they may not want to wait until then and look to move on your home immediately. That can lead to a higher selling price with multiple buyers bidding on your home.

3) Buyers searching for homes this time of year are usually MOTIVATED! - They understand that inventory is low, and they want to get ahead of the spring competition. Furthermore, they may have so much fatigue from losing out on the past spring market season that they feel motivated to move on something now.

If you are thinking about selling your Westchester County home, then please feel free to reach out to our office.We pride ourselves on educating homeowners on what their property may be worth in today's market.

 

June 28, 2017

The Importance of Home Equity in Retirement Planning

The Importance of Home Equity in Retirement Planning | Simplifying The Market

The Importance of Home Equity in Retirement Planning

Thursday June 22nd, 2017 For Buyers, For Sellers

We often discuss the difference in family wealth between homeowner households and renter households. Much of that difference is the result of the equity buildup that homeowners experience over the time that they own their home. In a report recently released by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), they reveal how valuable equity can be in retirement planning.

Craig Copeland, Senior Research Associate at EBRI, recently authored a report, Importance of Individual Account Retirement Plans and Home Equity in Family Total Wealth, in which he reveals:

“Individual account retirement plan assets, plus home equity, represent almost all of what families have to use for retirement expenses outside of Social Security and traditional pensions. Those families without individual account assets typically have very low overall assets, so they have almost nothing to draw from for retirement expenses.”

The report echoed the findings of a working paper, Home Equity Patterns among Older American Households, authored by Barbara Butrica and Stipica Mudrazija of Urban Institute. Fannie Mae highlighted these findings for their blog The Home Story this past winter, quoting Butrica and Mudrazija:

 “For most adults near traditional retirement age, a home is their most valuable asset — dwarfing retirement accounts, other financial assets, and other nonfinancial assets. Although relatively few retirees tap into their home equity, having it provides financial security… In fact, many retirement security experts argue that the conventional three-legged stool of retirement resources — Social Security, pensions, and savings — is incomplete because it ignores the home.”

USAToday interviewed two area experts to comment on the EBRI report. Randy Bruns, a private wealth adviser with HighPoint Planning Partners, agreed with the findings:

“Social Security and home equity are major pieces of the retirement puzzle.”

Wade Pfau, Professor of Retirement Income at The American College of Financial Services and author of Reverse Mortgages: How to use Reverse Mortgages to Secure Your Retirement, said having the equity without a plan to use it won’t help:

“Home equity is a very important asset for American retirees, and so it is important to think about how to make best use of home equity in retirement planning.”

Bottom Line

Whether you use the equity in your home through a reverse mortgage or by selling and downsizing to a less expensive home, it should be a crucial piece of your retirement planning.

 

Stephen Zondorak

Licensed Real Estate Broker

Astor Lane Realty

914-341-2998

 

Nov. 10, 2016

Maintaining Your New Home

 

Yearly Costs to Maintain a Home

 

I love checking on my home buyers within two to three months after closing. Most of my clients always seem to be surprised by the daily upkeep and associated costs of maintaining their new home. As much as I counsel them (during the home buying process) to be aware of these "hidden" costs and constant care they always mention that it is much greater than they initially planned. Please understand that this article is not meant to deter anyone from buying a home, but is meant to educate those that spend so much time and energy on preparation to acquire the home. After closing, you must plan fully for your new costs and work after moving in. 

Some of the things you should be aware of are:

 - Outside Care: In the summertime, you will need to care for your outside yard - water your grass and flowers, mow the lawn, trim the hedges, and clean debris. In the winter, you need to shovel and clean your sidewalk to ensure no one hurts themselves on your property due to negligence. In the fall, it is a good idea to get your gutters cleaned so the rain can be diverted appropriately and powerwash any exterior areas and siding. Lastly, if you have a fireplace, it is probably best to have it inspected for any major cracks inside the chimney to safeguard any possibility of smoke coming through.

 - Appliance Care: This is probably the most important one. It is important for you to ensure ALL your appliances are maintained yearly and by a trained professional. I can almost guarantee that the care and attention you show now will save you lots of $$$$ later. TRUST ME. This list can include your dishwasher, oven / range, microwave, washer, dryer, lawn mower, leaf blower, hedge trimmer, and if you live on the East Coast - SNOW BLOWER.

- Interior Care: Find time once a month to do the following: Polish / shine your hardwood floors, clean your windows (inside and outside),  use WD-40 on any creaky hinges or doorknobs that are stuck. Furthermore, find some time once a year to do the following: Reapply any basement water treatments, freshen up any rooms where the paint seems to have dulled and / or repaint any window trims to lighten up your spaces. 

As you can see, the acquisition of your new home is only "half the battle". Maintaining your home with some of these tips can go a long way towards ensuring your home is in tip top shape and protecting your equity for years to come.

 

Below is an article from Yahoo finance that gave me some minor motivation to write this post.

Hidden Costs of Home Ownership

 

**If you found this article to be helpful, please let me know. If you did not find it helpful, then I would like to know that also. **

 

Stephen Zondorak

Licensed Real Estate Broker

Astor Lane Realty

914-341-2998

Posted in Buyers
Oct. 22, 2016

Buyer Agency: What is it?

Buyer Agency

 

Buyer Agency: What is it? Is it necessary?

My inspiration for this article is unfortunate. This came about due to a recent situation that happened to me earlier this week.

Buyer agency is the relationship between a buyer and licensed salesperson (buyer’s agent) in which the client hired the agent to represent the buyer’s best interests. This fiduciary duty includes but is not limited to: reasonable care, undivided loyalty, confidentiality, full disclosure, obedience, and duty to account. A buyer’s agent will not represent the interest of the seller. Furthermore, it is important that your agent displays competency in all areas of the real estate buying process so, when it comes time to purchase your home, you can feel comfortable they are guiding you in the right direction.

With that said, I see most buyers house hunt without investing the necessary time to assess an agent and build a comfort level so they can leverage that relationship properly when it is time to buy a home.  Most often, I see buyers work directly with a seller’s agent (I can write a separate article on that subject but I will save it for another time) OR alternate agents depending on the home or area they choose. Most may not agree with this metaphor but I can tell you that the buyer / agent relationship is critical to home buying success and is very similar to a partnership / marriage. I believe that one should not overlook the most important aspect when working with an agent -  LOYALTY. When you have a buyer’s agent that has proven to be competent, loyal, and hardworking it would be a huge mistake if you did not leverage the longstanding relationship with your agent in working through the home buying process. I believe it is reasonable to expect loyalty from an agent and in turn, as the buyer, have it reciprocated.

Lastly, you should always be upfront and honest if you feel they are not meeting your service standard while being open to any feedback they may have for you as well. As is the case in every relationship – COMMUNICATION IS VITAL to success.  Depending on how long you have been working together OR if needs have changed, it is necessary for both parties to communicate as much as possible. Not only will this help with managing expectations, for both sides, but also alert agents to anything they are missing along the way.

If you have any further questions about buyer agency or just want to talk real estate you can always contact me at steve@astorlanerealty.com or contact me by phone at 914-341-2998.

 

Stephen Zondorak

Licensed Real Estate Broker

Astor Lane Realty

Oct. 12, 2016

Saving For A Home? Read This!

 

Saving for a home

 

Saving for a home? You may not need as much as you think….

 

QUICK DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a mortgage specialist, so any information provided here should not be taken as advice given by a licensed mortgage professional.

 

Before we go any further, I want to be “on record” by saying that I  believe it is in EVERY borrower’s best interest to purchase a home with at least a 20% down payment - (ex: if you plan on buying a home for $400,000, then your down payment would be $80,000)  Additionally, you would also need to account for closing costs which, depending on the area of your home, could be upwards of $15,000. So...do people normally have $95,000 saved up to purchase a home for $400,000? Based on the buyers that I have worked with, and done business with,  it is becoming a rare occurrence.

 

How does someone buy a home if they do not have the preferred amount of money down? Your lender is key! Whomever you choose to help with your financing can explain all of your options since situations vary with each individual.  However, I am here to provide some basic information which you may or may not have known about. Again, you should always verify this information with a licensed mortgage specialist as certain programs may have changed at the time of this writing.

 

  1. The FHA Loan- by far the most popular right now. The Federal Housing Administration has come up with a loan program that will insure these types of loans for qualified federal lenders. Subsequently, this allows them to offer you a product that only requires a down payment equal to 3.5% of the purchase price.  Although this loan has a lesser down payment requirement, than other conventional loans, it does come with certain fees associated with this type of financing.  Read more about it HERE

 

  1. The SONYMA DPAL Loan - Allows borrowers to procure down payment assistance through the use of a second mortgage. This is combined with current SONYMA mortgage programs and have great benefits like no interest rate and no monthly payments as long as you adhere to the program guidelines within a set period of time. Read more about it HERE

 

  1. The USDA Loan - Allows for no money down and can often have lower rates than other mortgage loan programs. Read more about it HERE.

 

As you can see, the above mentioned are just a few ways buyers can obtain a home with different down payment options.

 

Lastly, once you have your financing in place, with your pre-approval, then you can get to the fun part of searching for homes right here at astorlanerealty.com.

 

Below is a great article that I found going over this very same topic

 

http://themortgagereports.com/11306/buy-a-home-with-a-low-downpayment-or-no-downpayment-at-all

 

   

 

Stephen Zondorak

Licensed Real Estate Broker

Astor Lane Realty


914-341-2998

Oct. 1, 2016

Water Front View at Villas On The Lake

THIS IS WHERE YOU WANT TO BE!

Move right in to this condominium with breathtaking LAKE VIEWS.

Here you will find each bedroom with iWater Front Viewts own full, private bath. After walking past the upstairs hallway closet, complete with WASHER and DRYER, you will arrive downstairs to an open living room AND dining area complete with tile surround fireplace.

Updated half bath on the first level for all your guests.

Like the outdoors? Feel free to entertain outside with sliding glass doors leading to a wooden deck on the first level AND sliding glass doors leading to a patio on the lower level. Basement offers plenty of space and a finished room currently being used as an office. Cleaning is simple with CENTRAL VACUUM across all 3 floors.

This complex has great amenities - pool, playground, tennis courts, and clubhouse.

All this for UNDER $320,000!

The old cliché certainly applies here....THIS....WON'T....LAST

Move in before the holiday season! 

Contact me today to schedule a private showing

I can be reached on my cell @ 914-267-6171 or you can email me -  steve@astorlanerealty.com

 

Stephen Zondorak

Licensed Real Estate Broker

Astor Lane Realty

914-341-2998

 

 

 

 

Aug. 20, 2016

Pre-qualify or Pre-approval

What is the difference between pre-qualifying and pre-approval?

Knowing where you stand credit wise is even more important now than ever.

A pre-qualification is normally issued by a loan officer, who, after interviewing you, determines the dollar value of a loan you can be approved for. No credit checks are done, no employment history taken, nothing is submitted to an underwriter. However, loan officers do not make the final approval, so a pre-qualification is not a commitment to lend. After the loan officer determines that you pre-qualify, he/she then issues you a pre-qualification letter. In times past, before houses were selling very quickly (between 1997-2005) we used pre-qualification letters. However during the peak seller's market pre-approvals (explained in the next paragraph) became the standard in the Greater Hudson Valley Region.

It is important to note that in truth anyone can be "pre-qualified". Your realtor can do it for you, they simply have to know the lending guidelines.

The better course of action if you are a serious buyer is to utilize the Pre-Approval Letter. This can only be secured through a lender. Given the buyers market we have now, the pre-approval letter is still all-important. Everyone has heard of the high foreclosure rates, short sales and, frankly, all of us are suffering at the gas pump. This makes a pre-approval letter an absolute must in these times.

imagesNo self respecting (and sane) agent should put any prospective buyer in their car unless they are fairly certain they are ready, willing and ABLE to purchase. And no self-respecting prospective buyer should expect any realtor to act as a taxi driver.  It is also important to use a LOCAL LENDER, preferably a senior officer and one with whom the agency has had successful past dealings.  All these preparations are very key to a successful transaction.

Pre-approval is a step above pre-qualification. Pre-approval involves verifying your credit, down payment, employment history, etc. Your loan application is submitted to an underwriter and a decision is made regarding your loan application. If your loan is pre-approved, you are then issued a pre-approval certificate or letter. Getting your loan pre-approved allows you to close very quickly when you do find a house. A pre-approval may help you negotiate a better price and/or terms with the seller, because they know that the buyer is serious enough to have answered the hard questions with a lender. Often having a pre-approval at the ready can give you a leg-up if you are up against another buyer who did not come to the table so well prepared.

 

 

6.29.10 1st posting | Amended 2014

 

 

Stephen Zondorak

Licensed Real Estate Broker

Astor Lane Realty
914-341-2998

 

 

Posted in Buyers