Tag Archives: Douglas Elliman Bedford

Lewisboro NY Parks and Preserves | Lewisboro NY Real Estate

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.

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Housing Flipping Dead For 2011 | Mt Kisco Luxury Real Estate

We keep hearing about what’s popular in 2011 for home design — but how about what’s not? Builder Magazine writer Jenny Sullivan asked industry experts to weigh in on design fads that you won’t likely see in the new year. Here are some of the fading home trends experts mentioned:

1. Trophy space: Forget those two-story grand entrances. Builders are seeking more affordable, energy efficient design so they are getting rid of large, volume spaces in homes.

2. Just for show: Fancy, overdone rooms won’t cut it in the era of the practical, cash-strapped buyer. Lavish industrial-grade kitchen ranges or fancy master bath spa tubs– that are hardly even used anyway–will fall to the wayside. “The kitchen is once again becoming a working part of the home and not just a showcase,” architect Don Taylor of DW Taylor Associates in Ellicott City, Md., noted in the article. “It needs to provide all of the latest conveniences and technology, but with practical applications in mind. The faux commercial kitchen look may have reached its summit.”

3. Egocentric houses: It’s not just about the interior of a home that makes a home.

Buyers are caring more about its curb appeal and what’s nearby the home as well. Parks, amenities and neighborhood connections create a sense of community, said John M. Thatch, principal with Dahlin Group Architecture and Planning in Pleasanton, Calif. While most infill homes on the boards are 10-20 percent smaller in size, Thatch notes that buyers are willing to trade extra space for a more appealing neighborhood.

4. Home flipping: Gone is the trend of buying a “starter” home or a home for short-term investment. Buyers are now buying for keeps and it’s changing the way they view homes. “The idea of a home as a short-term money maker is essentially gone, so when people do buy they’ll do it with the intention of staying ten years instead of two or three,” says Jim Chittaro, president of Smykal Homes in Chicago. As such, he says buyers will care more about the design of the home and they won’t want it to feel cheap.

NAR Article

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‘From Manhattan to North Salem’ | Douglas Elliman Expands to Westchester

Elliman moves into Westchester market  |   Bedford NY Real Estate


From left: Elliman’s Dottie Herman, Holmes & Kennedy’s William Holmes and the Chappaqua officePrudential Douglas Elliman has made its first foray into Westchester County with the acquisition of the 135-agent firm Prudential Holmes & Kennedy.

A 40-year-old company, Holmes & Kennedy serves Westchester and Putnam Counties with six offices, located in Armonk, Bedford, Chappaqua, Katonah, Pleasantville and Somers. The new acquisition will bring Elliman’s total to more than 60 offices in New York City and Long Island, including the Hamptons.

Elliman CEO Dorothy Herman got her start on Long Island, (she purchased Manhattan’s Douglas Elliman with partner Howard Lorber for $71.75 million in 2003) and the sale marks Elliman’s first north of New York City.

Herman said the expansion made sense because the region’s demographics are similar to those of New York City. Indeed, Elliman and Holmes & Kennedy have been referring customers to each other for years, she said.

When Holmes & Kennedy CEO William Holmes approached her a month ago, “it was kind of a no-brainer,” Herman said. Holmes founded the company in 1968 and joined the Prudential network around five years ago, he said. The economic downturn has hit Westchester hard, he said, with home prices down about 30 percent from the peak and sales activity down 50 percent.

“Everyone’s working harder and making less money,” he said.

Holmes felt that joining forces with Elliman, which has some 3,800 agents, would help his agents gain an advantage over his competitors by giving them access to the larger company’s resources.

“Size makes a big difference,” he said, noting that it’s expensive for a small company to create and run a website, for example. In today’s difficult market, those costs matter more than ever.

“There’s an efficiency you have to have today that you didn’t have to have when prices were a lot higher,” said Holmes, who runs the company with his son Edward. “Costs are more critical than they used to be.”

Now that his agents are part of Elliman, it will be easier for them to get listings and customers moving from New York City to Westchester and Putnam counties, Holmes said.

“It helps a great deal to be part of a high-end network to get those listings,” he said, adding: “Our agents can make more money.”

Herman said the merger will help her agents as well, since many people move to Manhattan from Westchester, especially as more and more empty-nesters purchase homes in the city.

In recent months, Elliman also opened its first office in the Bronx, with the acquisition of the boutique Riverdale firm John Edwards Real Estate.

Other Manhattan firms have taken advantage of the downturn to expand into the suburbs. In 2009, Halstead Property purchased Connecticut-based brokerage Wheeler Real Estate.

And what of Elliman’s longtime slogan, “From Manhattan to Montauk?”

I’ll have to change that,” Herman said.

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3 Options To Sell Your Home In Pound Ridge NY | Pound Ridge NY Real Estate

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.

Smart Money Article

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Governor Cuomo’s NYS Real Estate Tax Facts | Bedford NY Real Estate

Governor Cuomo promises to CAP real estate taxes because he believes they are too high.

Governor Cuomo’s NYS Real Estate Tax Facts:   (  http://tinyurl.com/2ed83fo  )

1.     Property tax levies in New York grew by 73% from 1998-2008, more than twice the rate of inflation during that period.

2.     New York has 2nd highest combined state and local taxes in the nation and the highest local taxes in America as a percentage of personal income, 79% above the national avarage.

3.     The median property taxes paid by New Yorkers are 96% above the national median.

4.     When measured in absolute dollars paid Westchester (1st), Nassau (2nd), and Rockland (5th) counties are among the 5 highest taxed in the nation.

5.     When property taxes are measuredd as a percentage of home values over a 3 year period, the top sixteen counties in the nation are all in upstate New York.

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New Agency Disclosure in Pound Ridge NY | Pound Ridge Real Estate

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.

Full Story

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Lewisboro Real Estate Prices Rising in 2010 | Lewisboro NY Real Estate | RobReportBlog

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.

2000          $502,000

2001          $595,000

2002          $647,500

2003          $675,000

2004          $750,000

2005          $749,500

2006          $790,000

2007          $815,000

2008          $730,000

2009          $617,500

2010          $690,000

Inventory is still high but the median price in Lewisboro shows a good increase in 2010. 

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Mt Kisco NY Restaurant Names Soup After Governor Elect Cuomo | Mt Kisco NY Real Estate

A restaurant in Mount Kisco has unveiled a new soup in honor of Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo, who lives in New Castle (but has a Mount Kisco mailing address). Via Vanti! is now serving “Lago di Cuomo” soup. It is a “puree of warming winter greens served with a crostini topped with goat

cheese, chopped tomato and fresh basil,” the restaurant Founder Jimmy John said in a news release. The soup is vegan and non-dairy, and a gluten-free crostini is available upon request.

The soup, while named for Cuomo, is also inspired by the Lago di Como resort destination in northern Italy, according to the restaurant. Customers will get a free taste of the “inaugural soup” during January. Lago di Cuomo will be one of Via Vanti!’s seasonal soups, and $1 from every purchase of it will be donated to the Food Bank of Westchester.

The 2-year-old restaurant is located in the historic Mount Kisco Train Station at 2 Kirby Plaza.

Existing Sales Rise 5.6% In November According to NAR | Mt Kisco Real Estate

Existing-home sales got back on an upward path in November, resuming a growth trend since bottoming in July, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.  

Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, rose 5.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.68 million in November from 4.43 million in October, but are 27.9 percent below the cyclical peak of 6.49 million in November 2009, which was the initial deadline for the first-time buyer tax credit. 

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, is hopeful for 2011. “Continuing gains in home sales are encouraging, and the positive impact of steady job creation will more than trump some negative impact from a modest rise in mortgage interest rates, which remain historically favorable,” he said. 

Yun added that home buyers are responding to improved affordability conditions. “The relationship recently between mortgage interest rates, home prices and family income has been the most favorable on record for buying a home since we started measuring in 1970,” he said. “Therefore, the market is recovering, and we should trend up to a healthy, sustainable level in 2011.” 

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $170,600 in November, up 0.4 percent from November 2009. Distressed homes have been a fairly stable market share, accounting for 33 percent of sales in November; they were 34 percent in October and 33 percent in November 2009. 

Foreclosures, which accounted for two-thirds of the distressed sales share, sold at a median discount of 15 percent in November, while short sales were discounted 10 percent in comparison with traditional home sales. 

Inventory Drops
Total housing inventory at the end of November fell 4.0 percent to 3.71 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 9.5-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 10.5-month supply in October. 

NAR President Ron Phipps said good buying opportunities will continue. “Traditionally there are far fewer buyers competing for properties at this time of the year, so serious buyers have a lot of opportunities during the winter months,” he said. “Buyers will enjoy favorable affordability conditions into the new year, although mortgage rates are expected to gradually rise as 2011 progresses.” 

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.30 percent in November from a record low 4.23 percent in October; the rate was 4.88 percent in November 2009. 

“In the short term, mortgage interest rates should hover just above recent record lows, while home prices have generally stabilized following declines from 2007 through 2009,” Yun said. “Although mortgage interest rates have ticked up in recent weeks, overall conditions remain extremely favorable for buyers who can obtain credit.” 

A parallel NAR practitioner survey shows first-time buyers purchased 32 percent of homes in November, the same as in October, but are below a 51 percent share in November 2009 from the surge to beat the initial deadline for the first-time buyer tax credit. 

Investors accounted for 19 percent of transactions in November, also unchanged from October, but are up from 12 percent in November 2009; the balance of sales were to repeat buyers. All-cash sales were at 31 percent in November, up from 29 percent in October and 19 percent a year ago. “The elevated level of all-cash transactions continues to reflect tight credit market conditions,” Yun said. 

Single-Family Homes Sales Jump
Single-family home sales rose 6.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.15 million in November from 3.89 million in October, but are 27.3 percent below a surge to a 5.71 million cyclical peak in November 2009. The median existing single-family home price was $171,300 in November, which is 1.2 percent above a year ago. 

Existing condominium and co-op sales declined 1.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 530,000 in November from 540,000 in October, and are 32.2 percent below the 782,000-unit tax credit rush one year ago. The median existing condo price was $165,300 in November, down 5.5 percent from November 2009. “At the current stage of the housing cycle, condos are offering better deals for bargain hunters,” Yun said.


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New York Real Estate – Prudential Douglas Elliman Moves to Bedford NY

© 2010 Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate. All Rights Reserved.

All data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the RLS or Douglas Elliman. See Terms of Service for additional restrictions.

All information regarding a property for sale, rental or financing is from sources deemed reliable. No representation is made as to the accuracy thereof, and such information is subject to errors, omission, change of price, rental, commission, prior sale, lease or financing, or withdrawal without notice. All square footage and dimensions are approximate. Exact dimensions can be obtained by retaining the services of a professional architect or engineer.

The number of bedrooms listed above is not a legal conclusion. Each person should consult with his/her own attorney, architect or zoning expert to make a determination as to the number of rooms in the unit that may be legally used as a bedroom.

Douglas Elliman comes to Bedford NY. Yeah!!! My new boss at Prudential Bedford is Douglas Elliman.