Upcoming events in Westchester

Our area is rife with opportunity for entertainment and enrichment.  Here are a few links to places to find out about what’s going on:

  • OktoberfestWestchester Magazine is well known in the area for its coverage of people and events.  Here is its list of upcoming cultural events.
  • Eventbrite has a list of events that is updated to always reflect what’s coming This Weekend.
  • Westchester County’s own web site has an events calendar–click here.
  • The Hudson Valley Tourism web site has an impressive list of things to do.
  • Purchase College has a list of events that are open to the public here.  The Performing Arts Center and Neuberger Museum of Art  at Purchase College maintain their own web site events calendars.

It would be difficult to be bored in Westchester County with all these event listings!  Give them a try and find activities that appeal to you and your family!

The 80/20 Rule and Selling Your House

You have probably heard of the 80/20 rule. In brief, it states that in most things, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. It was developed by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, and is known in academic and business circles as the Pareto Principle. He observed when gardening that about 20% of his pea pods held 80% of the peas. He further observed that approximately 80% of the land in Italy was held by 20% of the population. People have observed this ratio in every walk of life and field of endeavor.

1 Allaire StWhat does this have to do with real estate? Think of it this way–20% of potential buyers have 80% of the interest in your house. How to attract those buyers? The 80/20 rule comes back again–roughly 20% of your home’s features contain 80% of its appeal. In promoting your house, a skilled real estate agent will highlight the features that will bring the most interest and the best price. Case studies abound where agents neglected to mention a stunning view or a huge yard or even a swimming pool.

Selling for the best price requires effective marketing. Look at any real estate web listing site and you will soon be wondering what agents were thinking to have included some of the photos! Professionally taken photographs are almost always required, as well as skilled selection of the photos taken. Both photos and listing copy should highlight those selling features that will bring in the 20% of buyers. And it seems obvious, but spelling and grammar count.

This is the point where I tell you to call me to help you sell your house. You knew it was coming, right? Call me at 914-297-8475.

Neighborhood Profile: Bryn Mawr Park in Yonkers

Bryn Mawr Park is a neighborhood in the 10710 ZIP code of Yonkers, bounded by the Saw Mill River Parkway on the west, Palmer Road on the south, Tuckahoe Road on the north, and on the east a line from where Tuckahoe Road meets Mountainside Road, just east of I-87, to where Palmer Road meets I-87.

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Median real estate price in the area is $486,910, which is more expensive than 61.4% of the neighborhoods in New York and 85.9% of the neighborhoods in the U.S. The average rental price in Bryn Mawr Park is currently $2,225. Bryn Mawr Park real estate is primarily made up of medium sized (three or four bedroom) to small (studio to two bedroom) single-family homes and small apartment buildings. Most of the residential real estate is occupied by a mixture of owners and renters. Many of the residences in the Bryn Mawr Park neighborhood were built between 1940 and 1969, with a number also built before 1940.

Real estate vacancies in Bryn Mawr Park are 5.4%, which is lower than one will find in 72.8% of American neighborhoods. Demand for real estate in Bryn Mawr Park is above average for the U.S., and may signal some demand for either price increases or new construction of residential product for this neighborhood.

One of the really interesting characteristics about the Bryn Mawr Park neighborhood is that it is an excellent choice in which to reside for college students. Due to its popularity among college students who already choose to live here, its walkability, and its above average safety from crime, the neighborhood is ideal for prospective or already-enrolled college students. The excitement here fluctuates with the college seasons. Despite the excitement however, parents of college-age children can rest easy knowing that this neighborhood has an above average safety rating. The neighborhood is rated among the top 1.5% of college-friendly places to live in the state of New York. In addition to being an excellent choice for college students, this neighborhood is also a very good choice for urban sophisticates.

Bryn Mawr Park is remarkably stable. More residents of the neighborhood live here today who have lived there five years or longer than is found in 97.6% of U.S. neighborhoods. This neighborhood is really made up of people who know each other, don’t move often, and have lived here in this very neighborhood for quite a while.

The neighbors in the Bryn Mawr Park neighborhood are upper-middle income, making it an above average income neighborhood. This neighborhood has a higher income than 82.8% of the neighborhoods in America. 37.9% of the working population is employed in executive, management, and professional occupations. The second most important occupational group in this neighborhood is sales and service jobs, from major sales accounts, to working in fast food restaurants, with 31.2% of the residents employed. Other residents here are employed in clerical, assistant, and tech support occupations (17.9%), and 12.9% in manufacturing and laborer occupations.

Neighborhood residents most commonly identify their ethnicity or ancestry as Italian (30.4%). There are also a number of people of Irish ancestry (15.1%), and residents who report Dominican roots (10.8%), and some of the residents are also of German ancestry (7.4%), along with some Mexican ancestry residents (4.5%), among others. 27.2% of the residents of this neighborhood were born in another country. The most common language spoken in the Bryn Mawr Park neighborhood is English, spoken by 55.8% of households. Other important languages spoken here include Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Arabic.

The greatest number of commuters in Bryn Mawr Park neighborhood spend between 15 and 30 minutes commuting one-way to work (41.6% of working residents), which is shorter than the time spent commuting to work for most Americans. Here most residents (79.4%) drive alone in a private automobile to get to work. In a neighborhood like this, as in most of the nation, many residents find owning a car useful for getting to work.

If you love the look and feel of older neighborhoods, with fresh pizza, falafel and an independent florist at the corner in some parts, then you might find the Bryn Mawr Park neighborhood worth a close look. This neighborhood is an absolutely outstanding example of the dominance of small 2, 3, and 4 unit apartment buildings compared to neighborhoods across the nation, as they make up 42.8% of this neighborhood’s real estate stock, is higher than 96.9% of all U.S. neighborhoods.

Source:  neighborhoodscout.com

Fresh summer foods

Everyone who knows me knows I love to eat, and I especially love fresh summer produce. I wax sentimental over strawberries and peaches, and some of my favorite vegetables produce similar reactions in me.

Knowing where to find the best summer produce without driving very far is essential for feeding your family and entertaining. I’ve extracted the following list or lower Westchester sources from an article on LoHud.com (link).


Photo: LoHud.com

Croton-on-Hudson: 9 a.m.-2 p.m Sundays, May 7-Nov. 19 in the lot on Municipal Place off Route 9. Vendor list includes Wave Hill Breads and Bishop Farms with meat, poultry and eggs. 914-923-4837. FMNP accepted. www.downtoearthmarkets.com

Hastings-on-Hudson: 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturdays, biweekly, Apr 1-May 20; weekly June 3-Nov. 26. Outdoors, library parking lot, at 7 Maple Ave., with free parking available. Expect live music, food trucks, activities for children and more. hastingsfarmersmarket.org

Irvington: 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sundays starting June 4. Main Street School parking lot, 110 Main St. irvmkt.org

Ossining: 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, May 21-Dec. 17. Parking lot at Spring and Main streets. 914-923-4837. www.downtoearthmarkets.com

Peekskill: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays, March 19-May 28. Micheal J. DiBart Neighborhood Center, 4 Nelson Ave. and Main Street. Starting June 4, Saturdays, 8-2 p.m. Bank Street between Park and Main.

Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow (TaSH): 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays, May 27-Nov. 18. Outdoors. Patriots Park along Route 9. Vendor and events information: tashfarmersmarket.orgtashfarmersmarket@gmail.com

Photo: WestchesterMagazine.com

Yonkers, Get Fresh Yonkers Farmers Market: Noon-5 p.m. Fridays, June 2-October in Van der Donck Park across the Yonkers Metro North Train Station. Hosted by Groundwork Hudson Valley, the market features produce grown within 100 miles of Yonkers, local baked goods and breads, and jams made by Yonkers public high school students. www.groundworkhv.org

Yonkers, St. John’s Church: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursdays, July 7-Nov. 17. In addition to farmer stands, the market includes a rummage sale, flea market, hot dog stand and coffee and doughnuts. 1 Hudson St., 914-963-3033. email: parish@stjohnsgs.orgstjohnsgs.blogspot.com

Sound Shore

Larchmont: 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, April 22-Dec. 16. Municipal parking lot off Chatsworth Avenue, near the Larchmont train station. Enter on Myrtle Boulevard. 914-923-4837. www.downtoearthmarkets.com

New Rochelle: 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Fridays, June 2-Nov. 17. North Avenue at Huguenot Park, near Iona College. Nearly 10 vendors, selling local vegetables, cheese, fruit and baked goods. 914-923-4837. www.downtoearthmarkets.com

New Rochelle Grand Market: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays, June 3-Oct. 28. Ruby Dee Park at Library Green on Huguenot Street between Lawton Street and Memorial Highway (next to the New Rochelle Public Library). Look for weekly children’s entertainment, interactive art exhibits, cooking demonstrations, live music, food trucks and crafts from local artisans. www.newrochelledowntown.com

Rye: 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays, May 21-Dec. 3. Parking lot on Theodore Fremd Avenue, with artisanal food items, farm fruits and vegetables, pies and cheese. downtoearthmarkets.com


Bronxville: 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturdays, May 13-Nov. 18. Rain or shine. Stone Place at Paxton Road. www.bronxvillefarmersmarket.com

Hartsdale: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays, June-November. Hartsdale train station parking lot. Three vendors with produce, flowers and freshly baked breads and pastries.  WIC coupons accepted. 914-693-2935. www.greenburghny.com

White Plains: 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Wednesdays, April 26-Nov. 22. Court Street between Martine Avenue and Main Street. 914-422-1336. Facebook: Friends of White Plains Farmers Market

Making an effective offer

10MurchesonPlHave you found your dream house and want to make an offer? The real estate market is very competitive and you have to be prepared to take the lead. If you don’t, other buyers will pass over you. Here is some solid advice, based on a blog post by fellow realtor Manuel Barrios, that will help you win your house:

• Avoid Delays

“Time kills deals.”  Be prepared and have all the paperwork ready: pre-approval letters, evidence of funds, etc. This way you can present a more eye-catching and organized offer and make a good impression on the listing agent and the seller. You should supply the pre-approval to your agent before you start looking, to help him choose appropriate properties for you and to be prepared to act quickly.

• Don’t make an offer for your lender’s pre-approved amount

Chuck Silverston (principal at the Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty in Brookline Mass) says this about making such an offer:

“Many buyers come in with a pre-approved amount for the exact offer price, but when competing against other offers – including cash offers – people need to show financial strength.”

Then he adds: “An exact pre-approved amount can make a listing agent nervous because the buyer not only will not have room to negotiate, but may also not qualify if the interest rate increases. ”

• Don’t make a lowball offer

Submitting an offer significantly lower than the asking price can bring you negative consequences. Always base your offer on the current market–recent sale prices of similar homes in the area. Otherwise you might cause the owner to reject you completely and refuse to listen to any subsequent offers. (The one exception is if the property has been on the market for a significant period of time because it is overpriced, but until the buyer realizes this, your chances are not good.)

• Don’t waive inspection contingencies

It really does not matter if it is a new construction or if you are buying the property from a relative–you should get it inspected no matter what! If you waive the inspection contingencies in your offer, you could lose money and bargaining power by not knowing about problems with the house.

• Make a good impression

There is nothing more important than giving a good impression to the owner and listing agent.  Just as buying a home is an emotional decision, so is selling a home. In addition to a solid and advantageous financial offer, a seller might also be swayed by your enthusiasm, your story, any personal appeal you might make through your agent to sweeten the offer. Although I don’t have data on this, there are cases where a seller with a strong emotional attachment to a home accepts an offer from a buyer he or she identifies with over one with a higher offer.

To discuss these points and any other questions you may have, feel free to contact me. I’ll help you buy or sell your home in Westchester County.


Neighborhood Profile: Bronxville Heights

Bronxville Heights is a suburban neighborhood in Yonkers, New York.  Its borders are roughly I-87 on the west, Tuckahoe Road on the south, just west of Central Park Avenue on the east (excluding the condo and co-op buildings on that thoroughfare), and the northern city limits of Yonkers, just south of Jackson Road. It includes the Grassy Sprain Reservoir, parkland surrounding the reservoir, and Ridge Hill Shopping Center and residential complex.

One of the condominium residences at Ridge Hill. Photo: allwestchestercountyrealestate.com

The median real estate price in Bronxville Heights is $541,484, which is more expensive than 69.3% of the neighborhoods in New York and 89.2% of the neighborhoods in the U.S. Real estate in the area is primarily made up of medium sized (three or four bedroom) to large (four, five or more bedroom) single-family homes and townhomes. Most of the residential real estate is owner occupied. Many of the residences in the Bronxville Heights neighborhood are older, well-established, built between 1940 and 1969. A number of residences were also built between 1970 and 1999.  Demand for real estate in Bronxville Heights is above average for the U.S., and may signal some demand for either price increases or new construction of residential product for this neighborhood.

The Bronxville Heights neighborhood has more Italian and Puerto Rican ancestry people living in it than nearly any neighborhood in America. 40.8% of this neighborhood’s residents have Italian ancestry and 13.4% have Puerto Rican ancestry.  Significantly, 3.0% of its residents five years old and above primarily speak Italian at home. While this may seem like a small percentage, it is higher than 99.0% of the neighborhoods in America.

Bronxville Heights is among the 15% highest income neighborhoods in America. This neighborhood has a higher income than 91.9% of the neighborhoods in America. In addition, the area has a lower rate of childhood poverty than is found in 84.2% of America’s neighborhoods.

44.2% of the area’s working population is employed in executive, management, and professional occupations. The second most important occupational group in this neighborhood is sales and service jobs, from major sales accounts, to working in fast food restaurants, with 25.5% of the residents employed. Other residents here are employed in clerical, assistant, and tech support occupations (21.4%), and 8.8% in manufacturing and laborer occupations.

The greatest number of commuters in Bronxville Heights neighborhood spend between 15 and 30 minutes commuting one-way to work (37.9% of working residents), which is shorter than the time spent commuting to work for most Americans. Here most residents (75.9%) drive alone in a private automobile to get to work. In addition, quite a number also carpool with coworkers, friends, or neighbors to get to work (11.8%) and 8.2% of residents also take the train for their daily commute. In a neighborhood like this, as in most of the nation, many residents find owning a car useful for getting to work.

Bronxville Heights clearly has a lot to offer the homebuyer in Westchester.

Source:  NeighborhoodScout.com

Which Westchester Communities are Best for Frequent Travelers?

Regional airport map_Fotor
This map includes airports in Newburgh and Islip.

In a previous life, I was an IT consultant, and often had to travel to client sites in other cities. I flew out of all three major NYC airports (JFK, Laguardia, and even Newark Liberty), as well as Westchester County White Plains Airport. I am very fortunately located for travel, in the Bronxville/Yonkers area. (Bronkers, as we like to call it.) I have easy access to I-87, the Cross County Parkway and the Hutchinson River Parkway, and the Sawmill River Parkway/Henry Hudson Parkway. In good traffic (as it usually is before 6 a.m.–ugh!) I can get to Laguardia or White Plains within thirty minutes, and JFK or Newark within an hour. I learned a lot from traveling to the airport at least once a week. Let me share some points frequent travelers might consider when choosing a community in Westchester.

Let us consider the individual airports. To drive to Laguardia or JFK, you to get to Queens from I-87 or from the Hutchinson River Parkway/I-678. This is not a great challenge for most of the communities in Westchester County. I-287 lends access to both I-87 and the Hutch, I-684 connects to the Hutch, and the Sawmill River Parkway connects to I-87 via the Moshulu Parkway in the Bronx or the Cross County Parkway in Yonkers. To drive to Newark Liberty Airport, you need to cross the Hudson River, of course. Access to the George Washington Bridge is easy from the Sawmill/Henry Hudson Parkways (preferred, although there’s a toll) and I-87, and to the Tappan Zee Bridge from the Sawmill and I-87. The White Plains airport is in the southeastern part of the county, almost in Connecticut, but is easily accessed from I-684 or I-287.

NYC municipal airports
Air travel has been available to New Yorkers almost since the dawn of commercial aviation.

The bad news: Unless you’re going to Westchester White Plains Airport, you will pay a toll.

Although access to airports is not difficult from most parts of the county, some communities offer easier and quicker access than others. Yonkers, Bronxville, Mount Vernon, and Eastchester are four towns located well for access to NYC airports. New Rochelle, Mamaroneck, Larchmont, and Port Chester are also good choices, but they might require travel on I-95, which I have sometimes found to be a challenge to schedules and sanity due to unknowns–traffic, construction, other delays. On the other hand, these communities offer easier access to White Plains than areas on the Hudson River do.

How often you travel will determine how important proximity to airports is to you. You might find that public transportation into NYC, school districts, or any of a dozen other considerations are higher priorities. In any case, if you are new to Westchester County, your realtor will be happy to advise you about the advantages of each community, and to find the right home for you.