Archive for September, 2010

That is the question on nearly every seller’s mind lately. I think we’d all like to hold our breath and wait until 2011, hoping the housing market will have rebounded to its former glory. But industry insiders can’t predict when, or even if, that will happen. The good news is that the summer is over – and fall home-buyers are back from vacations and on the search for homes! They are taking advantage of some of the lowest interest rates and home prices we’ve seen in years. And the advantage is not only theirs – although you may be selling your house at a lower price, remember you’re buying at a discount as well. This combination of low interest rates and buying at a discount can translate to 2010 being a great year to sell!

If you do decide to sell, make sure your home’s amenities meet the expectations of the buyers in your price range. One smart way to do this is to visit the open houses of new construction homes – builders are always in touch with the most current trends. You can learn a lot about what buyers are looking for by visiting these open houses and doing a bit of your own research before you enlist the help of a realtor.

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June 2010 was the largest closing month in mortgage history. Surprising, right? Curious what some other current stats are? Think you have a handle on what’s most important to buyers and sellers? Download my quiz and test your real estate savvy!

For Rye Residents: Click to Download Rye Quiz
For Harrison & Purchase Residents: Click to Download HarrisonQuiz

Don’t worry if you’re stumped – visit my homepage for the answers – click the Rye or Harrison Quiz Answers links along the left column of my homepage.

Tell me how you scored! Click “Leave A Response” at the top of this page or leave a comment below to share your results!

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Click on this image for the full list of second quarter stats!

The early Summer numbers are in, and it seems that the buyers weren’t on vacation this year! The second quarter was quite active with 61 homes sold in Rye — that compares to less than half that number just one year ago, when we saw 28 homes sold in the same months. In the Rye City School district, we saw a jump from 23 to 52 homes sold, and 34 homes sold in Harrison and Purchase — that compares to almost a third of that number just one year ago, when we saw 12 homes sold in the same months. In zip 10528, we saw a jump from 5 to 22 homes sold!

Also interesting to note in the Rye City school district was the narrowing of the differential from Average List Price to Average Sold Price. In the 2nd quarter of 2009, we saw a differential of close to 10%. In 2010’s 2nd quarter, this gap was about 5%…with the Average Sold Price resting at $1,613,236.

An exciting development in Harrison was the concurrent jump of Average Square Footage — from 2761 to 3487 — along with the Average Sold Price increase from $992,300 one year ago to $1,214,641.

For the full list of all current Listing and Sold Stats, see the 2nd Quarter Listing Stats link on my homepage.

As we enter the fall, extremely low mortgage rates continue to entice buyers, keeping activity at a steady pace.  It’s such a pleasure to be part of a community that prospective homeowners want to buy into and join. It’s nice to keep this in mind when seeing a new neighbor — I know I’m grateful for the new residents that keep the spark and allure of our community alive!

As always, feel free to contact me at (914) 329-5329 with any real estate questions or for a complimentary market analysis of your home.

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I am so pleased to feature the following post from guest blogger, Kerri Winderman. She was my eldest son’s fourth-grade teacher, and is now a Staff Developer in the Rye City School district – but she’s also the mom of a Midland School Kindergartner. She’s a great example of the talented and dedicated staff that works with our kids in the local schools!

by Kerri Winderman

I taught in Rye for a couple of years while living in New York City. In fact, I first met Joan as the fourth grade teacher of her oldest son. I quickly realized what a great community it was and I knew first-hand that the schools were top notch. I liked the idea of living in the suburbs but being able to walk to the beach, to town, and to the schools. Rye is an easy and short commute to the city for my husband. My house is a short walk or bike ride to the elementary school as well as to the middle and high school. Besides being close for going to and from school, it is also nice because there is always a field or playground nearby.

Currently I am a Staff Developer in Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies so I no longer teach in the regular classroom setting. I work with all the students and teachers on new initiatives, best practices, and finding appropriate resources. The typical classroom has around 18-22 children, and in kindergarten, the classes have full time aides. There are shared aides for the rest of the grades.

There is always an adjustment period after the summer break and it is perfectly normal for children to forget some of what they learned the year before. It almost always comes back quickly! As a teacher, I try to use the children’s experiences to prompt their writing and discussions. Camp, trips, days at the beach, etc. can provide for great story starters. I am a firm believer in routines and starting them right away in the classroom and at home helps children get off to a positive start.

One of the most exciting parts of working with children is that they are all so different. I found that one child may love reading while it might be the most disliked subject for another. The same could be said for math and writing. Many children love their special subjects—music, gym, and art. I found that students typically enjoyed social studies and science. One of the keys to good teaching is finding your students’ strengths and interests so that you can use that as a motivating factor.

There are so many interesting themes throughout the elementary school years including electricity and magnetism, marine life, communities around the world, pioneers, insects, the solar system, and so much more. The children are exposed to various genres of literature and have opportunities to write in different styles. In math, the focus is on concepts and problem-solving while developing skills in number sense, measurement, geometry and algebra.

There are always exciting new initiatives in each school building and across the district. In the elementary schools, they are continuing to work with a fairly new math program that is off to a great start. We have another staff developer who focuses on math practices and curriculum.

We are also working on improving our Language Arts curriculum and instruction, especially on the transition from grade 5 to 6 and grade 8 to 9, with a focus on grammar. In the elementary classroom, all of the teachers now have access to a web program, called Reading A-Z which will allow teachers to find wonderful resources for their small group, guided reading instruction.

RTI, a federal initiative that stands for Response to Intervention, drives our need to effectively assess our students three times a year. Most importantly, we look to use the data we collect from assessments to drive our instruction. In other words, we look at a child’s strength and weaknesses, as well as the entire classes’ strengths and weakness, and make appropriate instructional goals. We continue to utilize differentiated instruction to meet the diverse needs of our community of learners.

A committee of K-12 teachers continues to meet to discuss our needs in the area of science so that we make sure our schools remain current and innovative. Children are naturally curious and we want them to remain creative, inquisitive, and to grow into effective problem solvers.

Thank you for this opportunity to share my love of Rye and our schools!

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Parents – never underestimate the quality-of-life upgrade brought about by the purchase of a home close to a school. Considering that the local public schools offer Kindergarten through 12th grade, that’s a total of 14 years that you won’t need to wake up early to catch the bus or drive the kids to school. That’s a lot of gas and time saved! In addition to the healthy results of walking/biking to school every day, your morning routine will also become less hectic and micro-managed. It might even afford you some well deserved shut-eye – imagine sleeping in and still getting the kids to school on time!

There are numerous social advantages as well. Neighborhoods with schools attract families – and chances are your kids will go to school with the neighbors’ kids. Playdates are easier and more frequent when your kids’ friends live in the neighborhood, and you’ll be more familiar with their parents. And despite the kids’ begging, who would ever build a soccer field in their back yard? When you live near a school, it’s just like having one!

There’s no research to support this claim, but I suspect that having school so close to home creates a special bond and feeling of connection with the kids – it’s a part of their physical world and a source of pride. What a great gift to give to your kids!

Want to learn more about the Rye school district? Tune in tomorrow for insights from guest blogger Kerri Winderman, who is not only a great client but my son’s fourth grade teacher and the mom of a Midland school kindergartner.

Visit my website to search for the schools in the area of your home search.

Here are some great homes in Rye that are walkable to schools – let me know if you’d like a tour!

1 Fairlawn Court, Rye

This fabulous, spacious Milton Point Split features a large living room, formal dining room, family room with fireplace, new kitchen with doors to deck, four bedrooms including a master suite. The home has plenty of storage, great walk-in closets and is in walking distance to elementary school, beach and marina.

70 Bradford Avenue, Rye

Carefully designed by a well-established & successful Rye builder – this 5-bedroom Colonial will exceed your expectations. Superb craftsmanship, attention to details and top of the line amenities all contribute to a spectacular home. Features hardwood floors, 2 fireplaces, high ceilings, bathrooms designed w/natural stone, spacious rooms and much more. Please request features sheet for a full list of amenities. Level, park-like property is fully landscaped and boasts a large flagstone patio.

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Welcome to My World!

Welcome to my blog, I’m so glad you found me! Whether you’re a current or past customer, a new client referred by a friend or stumbling upon my blog through an online search, I look forward to sharing my knowledge of Westchester County with you. I’ve been a real estate agent here for the last 12 years, focusing on Rye and Harrison –  and I’m proud to mention that I recently ranked as the top producer in the Rye/Harrison office of Houlihan Lawrence. I’m known for my sensitivity to the concerns of buyers and sellers, and I make it my priority to address what each individual client needs … from vendor referrals and expert negotiations to good ‘ole fashioned moral support.

As a result, there’s rarely a question that I haven’t heard before.  If the question is out of my area of expertise, I pair my clients with highly recommended professionals for their trusted advice and insight. Over the years, I’ve cultivated an encyclopedic knowledge of local real estate and an extensive network of industry professionals, from mortgage brokers to custom kitchen designers. Besides my blog entries, I’ll also invite many of these experts to contribute as guest bloggers.

My real hope for this blog is that you’ll benefit from the wealth of information found here and enjoy the highlights on the lovely communities of Rye City,  Rye Neck, Harrison,  Purchase, Rye Brook, Port Chester and Mamaroneck.

And if you’re a Westchester native like me (I’ve also raised four children here) – I can’t wait to swap favorite restaurants and local events with you – let’s blog!

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