I am the spouse of a UN staff member, together we moved from Ireland, with our kids, to Scarsdale, Westchester more than six years ago. Much has happened in our lives since we moved here - we settled into our community, the kids all started school and I managed to become a licensed real estate agent!
We decided to settle in Westchester County, as it is one of the most popular commuter locations for New York City. Once you are here, you'll understand why. Whilst the 30-40 minute commute to the city is a major plus, Westchester living has so much more to offer. Picturesque towns and villages throughout the county offer vibrant nightlife and boutique dining. Culture and the arts abound, with everything from musical festivals to galleries and museums. If you’re the outdoors type, you have the majestic Hudson Valley at your doorstep, offering internationally renowned golf-courses, hikes in the spring time or skiing in the winter. And with some of the finest public and private schools in the country, it’s truly an amazing place to create a home and raise a family.
Across the County, there are many great communities to choose from that are 45 minutes or less by train to Grand Central Station. Along the beautiful Hudson are the river towns such as Hastings, Dobbs Ferry and Irvington - small and artsy with great boutique shops and restaurants. Central Westchester has Scarsdale, famous for its schools and White Plains, the county seat. Further East, on the Sound Shore, towns like Larchmont and Rye offer beach life and sailing.
Need help finding a home in Westchester?
My role as a real estate agent is to help you in your search and to represent you in the inspection and negotiation process. Ideally you want someone who knows the areas and market conditions of the locations of interest to you. Someone who can guide you as per your needs and budget. You will also want someone who can steer you through the various steps of inspections, appraisals and closing arrangements which can be protracted and bewildering to the new comer.
One thing to note if you are considering buying a place, is that any serious search for a house in Westchester begins with securing pre-approval from your financial institution. This will help demonstrate your viability to any seller as a prospective buyer, who is able to quickly close the deal. The UNFCU offers competitive rates for UN staff members, but it's always wise to shop around - especially if you have lived in the US for some time and have a good credit rating.
Your realtor will help advise on the competitiveness of asking prices and what scope there is for negotiation. They will also help you arrange an independent-expert inspection, which can also affect the final price based on the condition of the property.
Renting a place in Westchester can be different to what you are used to, even if you have rented before in New York City. Again, a Realtor can help make that a smoother process, so it is advisable to have one on your side.
What is good news is that, in Westchester, the prospective buyer or tenant does not have to pay the Realtor's fees.
I have a website set up - www.expatlivingNY.com - that provides a lot more detail on all the steps involved in all domestic real estate transactions. Take a look and if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me Dee Coffey on 6465495285 of at my email address firstname.lastname@example.org I'd also be delighted to show you around Westchester so you can see all that it has to offer and help you decide whether you want to move here with the many other UN families who happily made the move to raise their families whilst stationed in NY.