I think we’re done looking. We have researched over 25 towns in NY state within 50 minutes of New York City. No, we never ventured to New Jersey. No, we never ventured to Connecticut. Connecticut is a little more of a commute than we’d like and New Jersey just has too much bad press lately, frankly. The Hudson Valley has towns that are crazy close, and has a bunch of transplanted New Yorkers like us. That is to say, educated artsy types with a desire for a quieter life, though not too quiet.
Before I announce our decision, I’d like to break down our principle reasons why we did not choose any of the towns I’ve posted about in this blog:
- Pelham – so lovely, but it has the same taxes as the river towns, and a longer, more unpleasant drive
- Larchmont – demographic is too affluent
- Eastchester – too ugly and not affluent enough
- Tuckahoe – too small and not affluent enough
- Irvington – awesome, but there doesn’t seem to be anything in our price range
- Ardsley – the downtown area is too small and ugly
- Bedford – a little small, a little too affluent, a little too far
- Bedford Hills – bad schools, not affluent enough
- Katonah – adorable! too far
- Cold Spring – adordable! way too far
- Croton-on-Hudson – a little small, a little too far
- Pleasantville – lovely, but perhaps not white collar enough
- Yorktown Heights – too suburban-strip-mall-feeling
- Nyack – awesome! probably our favorite. but we want the schools to have a higher rating and it’s just a little too hard to get to.
What are some of the towns I didn’t blog about, and why?
- Yonkers – very poorly rated schools and poor
- New Rochelle – The only neighborhood where we would be able to afford real estate is in a busy and poor-ish area
- Mt. Vernon – Same as Yonkers
- Mamaroneck / Harrison / Rye – Didn’t really visit them, but had a similar feeling I had about Larchmont, only further away
- Bronxville – too close to the city (you still kind of feel like you’re in it.)
- Scarsdale – way too fancy pants demographic. It’s like the Beverly Hills of Westchester County.
- White Plains – schools aren’t so hot and it’s very busy and city like
- Tarrytown – really cute, but poorly rated schools
- Ossining – The days of Mad Men are definitely over. Don Draper doesn’t live there anymore. Now all it has is a really mediocre Mexican restaurant.
- Briarcliff Manor – Honestly, never got to it
- Sleepy Hollow – poorly rated schools
The towns we chose are Hastings-on-Hudson and Dobbs Ferry. They are right next to each other, and share some of the same restaurants and shopping, so for the sake of our real estate search, we are looking at them simultaneously. They both sit on the Hudson River, just north of Yonkers. With little to no traffic, we’ve gotten from Hastings to the 96th Street exit off the West Side Highway in 22 minutes. For Dobbs, add another five minutes to that.
Sure, the annual property taxes are $18K for some of the houses, but we’ve found many that hang down in the $11K-$14K range. As for prices, we’ve found a handful of homes that need a little love, though not critically, in the $500K-$550K range. We are hoping to buy a fixer-upper for less than that and fix it up.
The schools are rated at 8s, 9s, and 10s with strong reviews from the community. They both have cute downtown areas with a handful of restaurants, boutique stores, a bank, and grocery shopping. The demographic seems educated and comfortable-to-well-to-do, though not exorbitantly rich or showy.
Now we’re at the point where we’re seriously looking at houses with our awesome realtor. Today, we saw one that was too big and far from the village, one that was too small and too close to the village, and one that was just right. Priced at $528K with an unfinished attic, we’re considering offering under $500K and renovating the attic to be a master bedroom with an en suite master bedroom (note: I’m learning fancy real estate terms like “en suite” by watching the show “Love It, Or List It” on HGTV. Love it. Total garbage reality TV, but really interesting from a real estate point of view.
If you’re looking for a place to move outside the city, good luck in your search! If you’re here just to be supportive, thank you!