Lewisboro is rich in natural areas and is a component of the biotic corridor. Two Westchester County Parks are on Lewisboro’s borders, and there are 6 town parks and several community preserves.
Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is Westchester County’s largest (4,700 acre) park. In addition to many trails, there are camping facilities and a Trailside Museum. The main entrance is on route 121 in Cross River.
Mountain Lakes Camp is a County park on the northern border of Lewisboro, with beautiful ponds and trails in the forest. The most popular trail leads to Look Out Point which is perched on top of a cliff overlooking Lake Waccabuc,Lake Oscaleta and Lake Rippowam.
Onatru Farm on Elmwood Road is one of Lewisboro’s preëminent parks and includes tennis facilities and playing fields as well as some town offices. This area also includes some walking trails.
The Lewisboro Town Park on Route 35 contains tennis courts, the town pool, ball fields, and outdoor basketball courts. When ice skating is available in winter, a sign is posted. There are also some walking trails in this park that connect to the adjacent Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.
The Leon Levy Preserve was acquired by the town in 2006 as open space. While some trails exist in this 370-acre (1.5 km2) parcel, as of 2008 additional horse and hiking trails are under development and parking is still limited.
The Brownell Preserve is 118 acres (0.48 km2) of forested land given to the town. It has a 2-mile (3.2 km) trail that loops past an overlook of Lake Katonah.
The Old Field Preserve was obtained in 2003, and contains about 100 acres (0.40 km2) of woods, wetlands, and sizable old fields (thus, the name). The meadows will be preserved to support the birds and animals that are dependent upon this increasingly rare habitat.
Fox Valley Park has a variety of sports facilities for the town, including very busy soccer fields, ball fields, and tennis courts. See Walking Wild Lewisboro for information on park facilities and trail maps.
Economist and NYU professor Nouriel Roubini became an international star with his bold predictions—seen as outlandish at the time—on the path of the world economy. By 2006 he was saying that a huge housing bust and other factors would soon lead to a deep recession, and we all know how that turned out. But this housing bear also loves to party, so he’s suddenly feeling bullish on luxury Manhattan real estate. Bloomberg reports that Roubini is the mystery buyer of the incredible triplex penthouse at 6 East 1st Street in the East Village, formerly the neighborhood’s priciest listing. He paid $5.5 million for the 3,700-square-foot loft, which was last asking $5.995 million, and was once priced at $7.35 million. Maybe he was talking trash about housing as a negotiating ploy?
The penthouse has 13′ ceilings, two big terraces, a walnut wet bar and enough entertaining space to host a G8 summit. Or a bunch of models. Whatevs. The Halstead listing is already gone, but the details live on over on StreetEasy. Stay in school, kids, and maybe one day you’ll have a cantilevered steel staircase connecting all the floors of your downtown party palace
January 2011 has 56 active homes on the market in Pound Ridge NY. The high price is $10,000,000 and the low price is $380,000. The median unsold price is now $974,500, with the average Pound Ridge NY home is 3932 square feet, has been on the market 175 days and is asking $369 per foot.
Pound Ridge NY Homes 2010 Sold Statistics
55 sold UP 103%
3680 average square feet
169 average days in market
$793,350 median price DOWN 6.1%
$3,325,000 high price
$295,000 low price
$277.15 average square foot price
91.75% average sold price to asking
Pound Ridge NY Homes 2009 Sold Statistics
3317 average square feet
195 average days in market
$845,000 median price
$2,749,000 high price
$375,000 low price
$297.21 average square foot price
92.08% average sold price to asking
Pound Ridge NY Real Estate saw a big resurgence in 2010 compared to 2009. Sales are up 103%. Good market news. Sellers have been more realistic and realize there are less buyers, more inventory and prices have to come down. Median Pound Ridge NY price is down 6.1%.
GETTING READY TO put your house on the market? Before you do, you’ll have to decide whether you want to hire a full-service broker, work with a discount broker or sell the place on your own. It’s not an easy decision — there are advantages and disadvantages to each method.
A traditional broker, for example, will present you with a complete marketing plan and expose your home to as many buyers as possible. You could, however, save yourself thousands of dollars by selling your property on your own. But some would argue that the headache isn’t worth it.
Here are some pros and cons to consider before you take the plunge.
Traditional Brokers The Pros: Great exposure. Traditional real estate agents share their property listings in a database called the Multiple Listing Service. This database contains the vast majority of all properties that are for sale and is used as a standard by agents nationwide. (Manhattan, however, doesn’t have a local Multiple Listing Service.) Through the MLS, the details of your property can be easily accessed by prospective buyers either through their agents or directly by them on the Web. And since the listing broker is willing to split the 6% commission with any real estate agent who finds a buyer, there’s plenty of incentive to show a competitor’s inventory.
A good agent will do all the work for you. He or she will take control of the transaction and do everything from setting an accurate asking price and prescreening prospective buyers to showing your home and negotiating the final price. All you’ll need to do is keep the place tidy. This should free you to spend your weekends looking for your new abode.
The Cons: Brokers are expensive. Most of them charge a commission of as much as 6% for their services. So if your four-bedroom colonial sells for $500,000, you’ll have to cut a check for $30,000 at closing. Keep in mind, however, that all fees are negotiable.
An agent may not always have your best interests in mind. Take, for example, the so-called open house, where buyers are invited to view a home en masse. These events rarely lead to a sale. So why are they popular? Brokers like them, because they’re often used as a means for generating buyer leads.
A broker is in control of your transaction. So be prepared for strangers to traipse through your house for a “viewing” at practically any time of day. More important, your broker will be negotiating on your behalf, and you’ll have to trust that he or she is providing you with all of the information you need to make a final decision. Worst case, you may find your agent encouraging you to reduce your price just to make a quick sale so he can move on to another property.
Discount Brokers The Pros: Discount brokers are cheaper than traditional brokers. Companies such as Foxtons, eRealty.com and zipRealty.com charge sellers between 2% and 5% for their services. (Typically, the higher the fee, the more service that’s provided.) So the commission for that same four-bedroom colonial could cost you between $10,000 and $25,000, compared with the $30,000 a traditional broker would charge you.
You’ll reach more potential buyers with a discounter than if you sell your home on your own. Discount brokers spend millions of dollars each year on advertising in the U.S. and abroad. A large percentage of homes handled by these low-cost brokers sell without being listed on the Multiple Listing Service.
Some discounters will prescreen for qualified buyers and weed out the riffraff. If you use a discount broker that runs credit checks on potential buyers and makes sure they’re preapproved for a sufficient mortgage, you can have confidence that people looking at your property are serious buyers.
The Cons: You get what you pay for. Some discounters merely list your property on their Web sites. Or they’ll field calls from prospective buyers, but you’ll have to give the official home tour and deliver the hard sell. If this is all the service you’re getting, some industry insiders argue you might as well run an ad yourself.
You’ll have to pay up to get your home in the Multiple Listing Service database. While discounters can offer you this service, you won’t get it for 2%. Many discounters will charge you a higher fee, say 4% to 5%, for the listing.
Don’t expect agents to bang down your door. Even if your home is listed in the Multiple Listing Service database, some agents may refuse to show your property. Why? The discounted commission. Rather than the traditional 3% buyer’s commission, many discounters will offer agents just 2% or 2.5%. While that may seem like splitting hairs to you, the difference can really add up. If an agent can make $10,000 selling one $500,000 home vs. $30,000 on a comparable property, which one do you think he’ll show first?
For Sale by Owner The Pros: More money in your pocket. That’s right, you get to keep whatever your home sells for. You can put that 6% commission toward the down payment on a larger home or toward more important expenses, such as your child’s education.
No one knows your home better than you do. So doesn’t it make sense that you could point out all of the amenities and sell it better than an agent? Many agents showing a home are walking through it for the first time.
If you want something done right, do it yourself. Selling your own home gives you complete control over the transaction. You set the price, you set up convenient times to show the home, and you get to negotiate with a buyer. This way, you’ll know when it’s time to cave and lower your price or stay firm because your house is attracting a lot of interest.
The Cons: Less exposure. If you try to sell your home without the assistance of a broker, you’ll dramatically limit the number of potential buyers who’ll view your property. First, your house won’t be included in the Multiple Listing Service. Second, buyers feel more comfortable using a broker, since they want to see all of the available homes in a given neighborhood and have a professional on hand to help analyze the properties.
Expect your home to sell for less. According to the National Association of Realtors, homes that sold with a broker went for a higher median price than those sold by an owner. Many buyers believe they can negotiate more vigorously if they’re buying directly from an owner who’s avoiding a hefty broker’s fee.
Selling your own home can be a hassle. You have to set a price, place ads in the paper, field calls from prospective buyers and then put on your best smile and sell that house like a pro. And don’t forget about the negotiations. Some industry insiders even argue that buyers feel more comfortable talking money with a third party. Now try juggling all that’s involved while holding down a full-time job and looking for a new home for your family to move into. Some argue that avoiding the headache is well worth the 6% commission.
A New Broker Disclosure Law in New York _ Pound Ridge Real Estate
AS if the process of shopping for an apartment weren’t fraught enough, potential buyers and renters will have to deal with another wrinkle this year, when a new real estate broker-disclosure law goes into effect in New York.
The law requires a real estate agent to have clients sign a form stating that they understand whom the agent represents and to whom the agent will give “undivided loyalty,” as soon as they enter into a relationship.
Brokers are interpreting that to mean that the form does not have to be produced for everyone who walks into an open house, but rather as soon as someone starts asking substantive questions about a property, and certainly when someone asks for an appointment to see it a second time. Given that many apartment hunters are reluctant even to put their names on a sign-in sheet at an open house, agents do not want to have to present them with forms any sooner than necessary.
The disclosure law is designed to clarify the roles of buyers’ and sellers’ agents, in order to, as the form itself states, “help you to make informed choices about your relationship with the real estate broker and its sales associates.” The form goes on to define the various categories of agent.
Assemblyman Jonathan L. Bing, a Democrat who sponsored the legislation, says the new law increases consumer protection because previous disclosure forms were required only in transactions involving single-family homes and buildings with four or fewer units. Mr. Bing said the state and city Realtors’ associations had joined with him in urging passage of the law because it simplifies disclosure of dual agency, in which an agent represents both a buyer and a seller. Buyers can now sign one form providing advance consent to dual agency rather than having to sign a form for each listing that they might see.
“This is a consumer protection law,” said Neil Garfinkel, residential counsel to the Real Estate Board of New York, “but it also protects brokers, because now they will have a written record of what they’re already required to do now verbally.” If a complaint is filed against an agent for not producing a disclosure form, the penalty is a fine of up to $1,000 and, potentially, a requirement that the agency return the commission.
The law will also apply to sellers and landlords, but for them it will presumably be less jarring, because they will already be in negotiation with an agent for an exclusive contract. The disclosure forms will be fairly straightforward when agents are acting either for the buyer or for the seller. But often circumstances are less clear-cut, because they are acting as dual agents.
Taking a look at the Katonah-Lewisboro school district real estate prices over the last ten years we found median prices were rising until their peak in 2007. In 2008 and 2009 prices dropped. In 2010 the median price for a Katonah-Lewisboro school district home rose again.
Inventory is still high but the median price in Lewisboro shows a good increase in 2010.
CHAPPAQUA — The immense winged Pegasus statues will stay — but only because the symbols of Reader’s Digest are too heavy to be moved from atop the Georgian cupola. The stretch of blacktop off the Saw Mill River Parkway is still called Reader’s Digest Road. But the company that gave these things to Chappaqua is gone. Some might say Reader’s Digest as they knew it has been gone for a while. But this month the Digest officially moved its last workers out of the building in Chappaqua where it put out the world’s largest-circulation magazine since 1939. The Digest’s new headquarters are in Manhattan and a few departments work out of White Plains. The Chappaqua headquarters building that was for decades filled with thousands of employees will be leased to other companies by its new owners. But the memories of the Digest’s days in Chappaqua will linger.
In its heyday during the lifetime of its founders, DeWitt and Lila Wallace, the company took its place as the premier corporate citizen of Chappaqua, a place where locals could go down and get a job and employees were treated to legendary perks. But after its founders died and the company went public in 1990, the things that made both the magazine and the business distinctive began to change as it tried to remake itself to fit a new media landscape.
For decades, though, the Digest was different.
“It was a very great place to work,” said Ed Thompson, a former editor-in-chief for The Reader’s Digest Association. “I can’t imagine a company being better.”
For DeWitt Wallace, the most important thing was his employees, not the readers, said Thompson, who joined the company in 1960 and lives in North Salem.
“He wanted them to be as happy as can be and paid well,” he said.
The Wallaces spent a lot of money keeping their staff cheerful and intellectually stimulated, sending editors on annual trips to destinations of their choosing and clerical employees to Colonial Williamsburg, buying museum-quality art to hang in the halls and offices of the headquarters and bringing in famous people from presidents to Arctic explorers for lunches in the Guest House on the Digest grounds.
NEW CASTLE — When Brenda Kelly Kramer had an 1890 cottage put back together piece by piece next to her house in Chappaqua, she left rafters exposed on each side of the upper floor to show the red and blue color coding that kept the pieces in order while the roof was disassembled, moved and reconstructed.
Downstairs, a strip of wood across the floor shows where the bottom level was cut in half so it could be trucked through Chappaqua.
The house spent its first 120 years on Taylor Road, originally as a coachman’s house for the estate known as Annandale belonging to Moses Taylor, a prominent banker and grandson of the founder of Citibank who once owned a large swath of Chappaqua. It arrived at Kramer’s house in January, and was put together over the next several months.
“We had all the rafters on the lawn,” Kramer said.
Now the Dutch Colonial cottage, reborn as an addition on South Place three miles away from where it was first built, is nearly done and Kramer, an interior designer, is working on the final touches. Kramer has decided to decorate the house with a Bermuda theme with sea-glass blue popping up on chairs, a bar sink, lamps and elsewhere. Bottles of island sand wait to be used in the decorating. Pictures dotted around the cottage evoke a vacation at the beach.
The cottage was to be torn down by a developer who had built a larger, modern home on the Taylor Road property. When Kramer said she wanted the house, he gave her the time to figure out how to move it.
Kramer said as she has been working on the restoration, she has talked to many people who felt they had a connection to the house, even if it was just admiring it as they drove by.
“It was sweet, this little sweet cottage,” Kramer said.
After it was put back together, it still needed a lot of work to upgrade the plumbing and other systems, add an energy-efficient heating system and enclose the walls. The contractors on the job had experience with the difficulties of rebuilding a house without plans and with old materials.