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Buy a House | Sell a House
Westchester County
New York State

Are you planning to buy a house or sell a house in Westchester County? Whether you intend to buy or sell a house, be sure to review Real Estate in Westchester for an up-to-date list of real estate offices and information on how to find the best real estate agents in Westchester, New York. Find the best real estate offices offering the resources needed to back up their agents during the difficult process of buying or selling a house.

Before you start your search to buy a house, review the section Buying a House in Westchester where you will find suggestions, steps, and guidelines to prepare you for buying your new home. Find several things to think about before you decide on the location or style of your new home.

Before you begin the process of selling a house, review the section on Tips to Sell a House in Westchester . Find real estate tips to successfully sell your house. Find information to help you prepare your home for sale. Review this document to ensure that you get the best price when you sell a house in Westchester County.

Before deciding on a real estate agent to list your house for sale, review tips and things that you need to know before deciding on the realtor that will sell your house. Interview several real estate agents and learn about each agent's techniques, marketing resources, and plans to sell your house in Westchester County.

It is perhaps even more important to find the right real estate agent to guide and help you buy a house. The home you buy may be the home that you and your family will live in for many years. Be sure you select a real estate agent that understands the housing market and the location for your new home. Select a real estate agent that knows about the schools, shopping, parks, and neighborhood that you are considering for your new home.

Demographic Information for Westchester
Perhaps, you are considering more than one location. Compare one or more places to live at Westchester County Demographics where you can review the general population and housing characteristics of one or more towns. For example, if you have a young family, you will probably be interested in learning if there are young families with children the same age as your children. To learn about your prospective neighborhood visit Westchester County Demographics and select one or more towns to compare, study, and learn about.

Learn about the schools in your prospective neighborhood, especially if you have school age children. Review School Districts in Westchester. Find important information about a school district and each of the schools within the district, including school report cards for each school district.

Visit Shopping in Westchester and learn about the various shopping centers, stores, and shopping opportunities in a town.

Before deciding on the town for your new home, do the research. Find information that is important to you and your family. Learn about:
Find a Real Estate Agent in Westchester, NY
Once you have educated yourself about the things you need to know before buying a new home, select an established realtor that knows the area and can help you Buy a new house in Westchester County.

Find a real estate agent with whom you are comfortable and can work successfully. Find the best real estate brokers at this comprehensive list of Real Estate in Westchester where you can select realtors by location, specialty, and experience.

Buy a Colonial House, Contemporary House or Unique
Find traditional colonial houses, charming capes or modern contemporary homes; set in idyllic and beautiful properties in the magnificent locations and settings of Westchester County. Before deciding on the style of house, be sure you look at several houses. Learn about the negatives and benefits of each style and what will work for you and your family.

Buy a Luxury Home or Distinctive Property in Northern Westchester County
Find the best real estate agent to help you buy a luxury home. For beautiful estates, including Horse Farms, Waterfront Estates, and properties in Bedford, Pound Ridge, North Salem, and other Northern Westchester locations, call to set up an appointment with a Real Estate Agent in Westchester.
Buy a Home in Southern Westchester
If you want to buy a house in Southern Westchester County, find a real estate agent that knows about the villages, towns, and cities in Southern Westchester. Be sure your realtor has experience with houses and and properties available in Southern Westchester. To find a real estate agent that will help you to buy the perfect house for you and your family, call:
Buy a House in the beautiful Westchester River Towns
Are you interested in buying a home in one of the charming and historic River Towns of Westchester? Call a realtor to help you find the perfect home in Westchester River Towns.
Select a realtor at Best Real Estate Agents in Westchester County. Whether you buy a house or sell a house, you need to find an experienced Real Estate Agent with whom you are compatible and comfortable, and can work with successfully to buy or sell a house.

When looking for a new house, be sure your realtor understands the criteria you have set for yourself and your family. A good Real Estate Agent will make sure she/he understands what is important to you and your family. To work toward this goal, a realtor make take you to a few open houses that may not be exactly what you want, but can work as a model to eliminate or add features in your new home. By the time you start looking at properties; your realtor should have your goals and your priorities in mind. However, keep in mind that at the beginning of this process, you will probably need to refine your initial list of must have vs would like to have .

Using your selection criteria, your realtor will find the house that is right for you and your family. Your realtor should not try to talk you into buying a house that you are not comfortable with and that does not meet the goals you have set. Your Real Estate Agent can find a new home for you while keeping your interests uppermost.

Before you decide the town in which you want to live, review Westchester County Demographics by location, zip code or town name. Learn about the local school district, local shopping, recreation, and other important facts to consider when selecting the town for your new home.

When selling your home, it is important to find a realtor that understands and represents your interests. Before listing your home, have one or more realtors compare your home, also known as comp your home against others on the market to determine a fair and competitive price for your house. You and your realtor should agree on a price range in which you can sell your home. Review the Directory of Realtors in Westchester to find a Real Estate Agent by location.

It is also very important that you work with a realtor that is knowledgeable about the area in which you live. Only then can the realtor tell prospective buyers about all the positives and pluses of buying a home in a particular hamlet, town, or city of Westchester County in which your house resides.

Once you have selected a realtor to help you buy a house or sell a house, plan a meeting to discuss what you (the buyer or seller) need to be aware of during this important process.

Buying a Home
Is this your first real estate purchase? The decision to buy a house may be one of the most important decisions of your life. Where you buy a home and the price you pay for a home will have financial, social, and family consequences. Be sure you are making the right decision.

Narrow down your search by selecting one or more towns, villages, and neighborhoods in which you are interested. If you have school age children, you certainly want to check school ratings and statistics. This one of the most important decisions of your life!

    Once you've selected an area in which to live, drive around the village and town. Visit the stores in the area. Stop and have lunch at a café or restaurant. Select a place to eat from the Westchester Restaurant Guide. Relax, have a cup of coffee and take in the atmosphere. Stop at a local café, an upscale fine dining restaurant, or even a diner. Take the time to soak in the atmosphere and get a sense of the people in this Westchester County neighborhood.

    Go to the local town Library or just take a stroll down Main Street. Take the time to explore a town before selecting the neighborhood for your new home.

    For many buyers the priorities in buying a home are location, property, and lastly house. If you have school age children in the family, a good school district is a priority. If you are commuting to a job in the city, you may want to purchase a home near the metro or near major highways and routes that can shorten your commute. The last and perhaps most important consideration is to establish a price range for your new real estate property.

    If you will need to borrow funds to pay for your new home, think about mortgage options, property taxes, homeowner's insurance, utility bills, and other important factors affecting your monthly costs. Speak to your accountant and other professionals before deciding the best type of mortgage: Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), Fixed Rate Mortgage (FRM) and dollar amount of the mortgage. Educate yourself about home mortgages and how to Get the best mortgage. Read "Looking for the Best Mortgage" before committing to a mortgage with one lender.

    Once you have decided the location for your new home, select a Real Estate Agent that is knowledgeable about the area selected for your new home in Westchester. A good Real Estate Agent will understand your house needs.

    Once you have decided on the neighborhood, town, village, or hamlet for your new home, write down a list of features that are important to have in your new home in Westchester, New York. Are you looking for a ranch, a colonial, a cape, or that special one-of-a-kind home? Are you looking for a new home or an older but "move in condition" home? Or would you consider a real estate property that needs work so that you can renovate your house and make it the perfect home for you and your family? Do you want a fireplace, gardens, privacy, pool, waterfront property? Prioritize the features that you want in a home. You may not be able to find everything that you want in a new house that is in your price range - decide which features you are willing to give up. In summary, define your requirements and then choose a realtor that understands your real estate needs.

Tips to Buy a Home

Before you seriously search for a new home, you must consider the general area in which you want to live. Learn about the city, town, villages, and in more populated areas, the neighborhoods within the city that you would consider for your new home.

Westchester County Demographics
Before deciding the location for your home, review demographics in Westchester by zip code or town name. Learn about neighborhoods; school districts, shopping, and other important facts to consider when buying your new home.

Find a Real Estate Agent
Whether you are buying or selling your home, select a professional realtor that knows the housing market. Interview several Real Estate Agents to be sure that you have found the one that understands your needs and the criteria you have set for your new home. You may want to try a large real estate agency such as Century 21 or Coldwell Banker or you may want to try a group of smaller, but highly professional realtors affiliated with a group such as Westchester Real Estate . If you are a first time buyer, you may want to speak with an exclusive buyer’s agent such as Buyer’s Edge Realty . Review the list on this page and press blue button to explore a realtors' website.

A good real estate agent will make sure she/he understands what is important to you. To work toward this goal, a realtor may take you to a few open houses that may not be exactly what you want, but can work toward defining your Must have and Would like to have features. By the time you start looking at properties; your realtor should have a good idea about your priorities in finding a new home in Westchester. However, keep in mind that at the beginning of this process, you will probably need to refine your initial Must have and Would like to have features based on price and availability.

Must have and Would like to have
Refine your Must have and Would like to have
list. In each house that is a candidate for your home, check off the items that you can and cannot change. Many things can be changed. However, there are also items that cannot be changed without major expense. Before you buy a home decide what is most important in your decision to purchase a home.

Budget for your New House
What can you afford to pay for your new home? Do not over extend yourself! Select a price range that you can afford to pay for your new home. Don't forget to include recurring energy costs, maintenance costs, and property taxes.

Things to Consider

  • Are you going to commute to work by car, bus, train? If you need to commute by train - how far can you live from the train station? Public Transportation in Westchester County.

  • Do you want an older home, an antique home, or a new construction? If you are considering older homes or an antique, would you be open to renovating? How much is your total budget, including cost of a new home and cost of renovation? There are many things that can be changed in a home by renovating. Consider if you are willing to give the time, expense, and (possibly) aggravation to changing the home you have just purchased.

  • Do you have children that are in public school or are entering school age over the next few years? If yes, review the elementary, middle, and high schools within each town at Westchester School Districts

  • Do you want a private single home or are you open to looking at condominiums that are attached? If you prefer a private home, do you prefer contemporary homes, colonial homes, ranch style homes, a "unique" that does not fit into a category? Even if you are open to different style homes, there may be a particular style that you want to eliminate from your search for a home.

  • Do you have any animals that need to be considered in your decision?

  • What type of property do you want? Do you prefer the privacy associated with a wooded property? Do you have children and need an open space for your children to play? Do you want to see this area from your kitchen window?

  • Do you prefer patios or decks?

  • How many bedrooms, bathrooms and fireplaces do you want? Do you want a lot of closet space? Do you want a family room

  • Do you want the family room adjacent to your kitchen or more privately situated?

  • Can you easily renovate to create more closets, a bathroom, a bedroom?

  • What size home are you considering; 1800 square feet, 2500 square feet, 3000 to 4000, or larger?

Once you have found the home that you want to buy, hire a house inspector. Your home inspection is extremely important. Hire a reputable Home Inspector to provide a General Home Inspection. Home inspections should cover: water quality, plumbing, radon, septic tank, oil tank, termite inspection, lead, asbestos, and more.

From the initial process of finding a home in Westchester, through the final steps, your Real Estate Agent should guide you through the Mortgage Pre-approval process; the Down Payment process, Mortgage Options and finally, Closing Costs.

Buying a Home in Westchester
Buyer's Agent and Seller's Agent

If you are thinking of buying a home, it is in your best interest to know the difference between seller, buyer and dual real estate agents. Using the wrong style of agent could affect the financial terms of the deal and have material legal implications. Arm yourself with an understanding of the difference between a Buying Agent and Seller's Agent. Learn how to use each to your advantage when buying a home.

There are frequent discussions about buyer's agents and seller's agents. Real estate law now obligates an agent to indicate who they are representing. This usually happens when you first meet with an agent, through a written disclosure document that you must sign, that identifies whether the agent is working for the buyer or seller. A seller's agents represent the seller. Most real estate agents who show and market houses are seller's agents.

A seller's agent typically works for the person selling a house and therefore, looks out for the interests of the seller. On the other hand, buyer's agents actually work for the buyer and have an obligation to look out for the interests of the buyer. There are also dual agents that represent both sides of the home buying experience.

More often than not, this has little to do with who actually pays the agent. So, why does it matter? If you are the buyer, it is important for you to use a buyer agent because of the financial, legal and ethical implications. A seller's agent has a fiduciary alignment to the seller not to you as the buyer. Accordingly, during the negotiations a seller's agent will be aligned with the seller.

    For example: Suppose an agent realizes that the seller must relocate for a new job, has become highly motivated and is now willing to accept $25,000 under the home's list price. If the agent is a buyer's agent - working for you - he/she will be obligated and very likely excited to tell you this information. However, if the agent is the seller's agent aligned with the seller - he/she does not have to disclose this news to you and may not tell the essential fact initially in an effort to get the higher offer from you.

Occasionally, you will find an agent that says they are performing in a dual role; meaning they are serving as a buyer and seller agent. Be careful in this situation. As a buyer, you may want to stay clear of a dual agent. Realistically, the dual agent is unable to negotiate the buyer's interests without adversely affecting the seller and visa versa. There are admirable agents that can operate effectively in the dual role. However, as a buyer, you should be conscious of the prospective conflict. If you want the bottom price on a home, seek a reliable buyer's agent whose loyalties are aligned with you.

You may be wondering who actually pays for a buyer's agent. Typically the selling agent lists the house in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and agrees to split the commission with the agent who brings the buyer. Frequently, the seller's agent and the buyer's agent split the real estate commission with fifty percent for each agent. This means that although the buyer's agent is representing for you, the seller is funding the commissions to the buyer's agent. At times you may find a house where the selling agent does not agree to split the commission with the agent who brings the buyer and in that case you will have to settle on who will pay for the buyer's agent.

Knowing the financial, legal and ethical implications of buyer, seller and dual agents is important to you as a home purchaser. Prior to engaging in any real estate transaction as the home buyer, find yourself a good buyer's agent with at least 10-12 years of experience in your market. They will have a fiduciary responsibility to act in your best interest and have the experience to help you negotiate the lowest price for the home.

Tips to Sell a House
Selling a Home
Westchester County

Tips for Selling a House
There are several things to consider when selling a home. These factors will greatly influence not only the final price for your property, but also how quickly it will sell and how much aggravation you will have throughout the process of selling a home.

Once you have selected a realtor, you will need to prepare your home for sale. Be sure you are aware of all the federal, state, and local disclosure laws. Your Real Estate Agent should be able to guide you through this process. If your house is overpriced, agents are going to show similar homes priced more attractively. Your listing is likely to be shown less often. However, if your house is a "unique" or "one of a kind" and you can wait for the right buyer, you may be able to demand a higher price for your home.

Time and again it is said that the three things to look for in buying a property are (1) Location, (2) Location, and (3) Location. There are positive and negative factors to almost every location. Let's pretend your property is right next door to a fire station. You need the kind of marketing professional that can sell the benefits of not having to worry about your new home burning down, or perhaps the savings on fire insurance. Seriously, no matter where your property may be located, there is a ready, willing, and able buyer in the marketplace. Problems with the location of a property can be overcome, you just need a realtor who will work hard to sell your house in Westchester.

Realtors differ in their approach to buying or selling a house . Each will take a different approach in marketing your home. A realtor may just list you home on the MLS system and hope it will sell itself, to realtors who actively market the home through newspaper advertising, the Internet, Open Houses and more. You will likely have a positive Real Estate experience if you pick a realtor who meets the following criteria:

    It's hard to work with an agent you don't like. If you do not like your real estate agent, you won't trust him/her to guide you in successfully selling your house. You have enough on your mind without having to argue and bicker with your broker. No matter how good a real estate agent is, if you don't like each other, the process of buying or selling a house will be negatively impacted.

    Having a full time realtor (or a team of them) is vital to the successful sale of your home. If your realtor isn't available to sell your house because he/she's "working a day job", then how committed is that realtor to you?

    Work Ethic
    Just like any other professional in your life you need a realtor who is organized, professional, and hard working. Have you ever seen a lawyer show up for a case in sweat pants and a t-shirt? Or a doctor say; "I'm sorry, I can't deliver your baby because I have a 4:00 t-off time"? How about an accountant who can't manage his own finances? You should be able to expect the same level of professionalism from the agent you choose to represent you. By having a professional realtor working on your behalf, your entire experience will be more positive.

Terms of Selling a House
If you are selling a house in Westchester or a different location, consider the following. Are you flexible on possession dates? Is your property easy to show? Are you prepared to negotiate on appliances and other items? This flexibility makes your home much more attractive to potential buyers. For example, many out-of-town buyers won't even consider a home if the possession is not flexible. First time home buyers often have to purchase the appliances with the home because they have to put all of their savings into the down payment. Where are they going to get $3000 to buy appliances?

Once you have decided to sell your house, you need to prepare your house and property. First impressions count.

  • Paint the front door and trim, make sure the doorbell works, lights have working light bulbs, put old lawn furniture, excess clothing, etc. in storage. Just a few things that can be done to make properties more marketable. Remember, cleanliness and pride of ownership will get you more money than a messy dirty house. Even if you are selling an "as is" property, looks are everything

  • Remove clutter from inside and outside the house, including the garage.

  • Clean the fridge, oven, range, and clear the countertops.

  • Mow the lawn, trim shrubs and remove dead scrubs.

  • Apply a fresh coat of paint throughout the house.

Once your home is clean and tidy, you can get a few estimates from reputable real estate brokers. Upon selecting your real estate agent and a listing price, you are ready to put your home on the market.

Determining a price is more than just picking a number. It involves careful analysis of the property. Many things come into account when determining a price. In fact, it is often through price where short comings in the other factors are balanced. For instance, if your home has been damaged from bad renters, is difficult to gain access to, is located between the city dump and the airport, then the home will have to be priced accordingly.

Optionally, you can try to sell your home without a Real Estate Agent. You may get lucky, but the right Real Estate Agent will probably find the right buyer at the best price. A good realtor knows the current inventory in the real estate market in your town. A good realtor also knows how to correctly price your home for your area.

Visit the following topics about Buying a House in Westchester:
Home Ownership
Rental Housing
Residential Financing

The above is intended as a brief guide and summary. Consult a real estate professional throughout the process of purchasing or selling your home.

John Carle & Sharon Gregresh, realtors with Royal LePage - ArTeam in St. Albert, AB. At www.workingtogether.ca/.

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