Monthly Archives: October 2015

Guide to buying luxury real estate in Westchester County

Westchester County boasts a fine selection of luxury homes in a very laid-back setting. Combined with its close proximity to New York City, the area has become a very popular choice for buyers searching for a homey atmosphere that’s less than an hour away from all of the Big Apple’s attractions and amenities.

If you’re planning on buying a luxury property in Westchester County, here are a few great tips that can help you out:

Get pre-approved

Getting pre-approved is a great way for you and your Realtor to find out exactly how much you can afford and spend. You gain a big advantage at the negotiation table when you’re pre-approved, especially when your offer is weighed against others. Applying for a mortgage is not required when getting pre-approval – you can look around and make a decision after you find a house.

Look for a professional agent or broker

Buying a home is a huge decision. Working with a professional increases your chances of landing your dream home, as you have someone experienced to guide you and will work for your best interests.

Work with an attorney

To make sure you’re protected against any legal issues, it is recommended that you get the services of an attorney when buying a home. Once you find a good attorney, you’ll have someone qualified to review contracts, clarifying any questions you may have and protecting your best interests. After you purchase a home, your attorney can see to it that all the required legal documents are delivered, and work with the seller’s attorney, the title company, and the bank to ensure a successful closing.

Search for a home

Searching for the perfect luxury home can be enjoyable, but it can be stressful at times as well. Many buyers get discouraged when they can’t find the exact type of home they’re searching for, which is why it’s a good idea to always keep in mind that some compromise may be required. Working with an experienced Realtor will not only help you find the best available homes – you’ll also become more knowledgeable, allowing you determine which homes offer the best value.


Move-in ready White Plains home for sale for $575K

This lovely, newly renovated Colonial at 302 West Post Road is well worth a closer look. Stop by the open house on October 24 (Saturday) – this 4BR/3BA charmer just might be the home of your dreams!

302 West Post Rd.

Updated features

Boasting a ton of new features, the house has been brought thoroughly up-to-date inside and out, top to bottom. Its bigger than you think – the estimated square feet of 1,984 doesn’t include an additional 1,150 sq. ft. of attic and basement space.

  • Check out the bright and airy new kitchen, which has been fitted out with brand new stainless steel appliances. This eat-in kitchen also has granite countertops and plenty of storage space.
  • There’s room for the entire family in the large formal dining room.
  • The first-floor bedroom comes with its own bathroom.
  • On the lower level are the spacious family room, a den/office, storage, and the laundry and utility rooms.
  • On the second level, you’ll find the master suite, which has a walk-in closet.
  • Also on the second level are two more bedrooms and a hall bathroom.
  • The finished attic has a den/office and a roomy entertaining area.
  • Beautiful hardwood floors throughout and a fenced level backyard.


Unbeatable location

Less than a 10-minute drive from downtown White Plains and Metro North RR, 302 West Post Road has a very convenient location. Just about everything is close by, including:

  • George Field Park, which is no more than a 10-minute walk away.
  • Post Road School, also within walking distance. A K-5 school, it recently celebrated its centennial.

Other open areas and schools as well as places of worship, shops, and service providers are also just a short walk or drive away.

Listing # 4547402
Listing Price: $575,000
# of Bedrooms/Bathrooms: 4BR/3BA
Open House: Saturday, October 24, 11am to 3pm


The mortgage process explained

A mortgage is a loan that you obtain from a bank or lender in order to buy a home. The mortgage is paid back over a set period of time.

Purchasing a home involves such a massive financial outlay that buyers often don’t have the cash needed to pay for a home in one go.

That’s where a mortgage comes in.

Collateral and foreclosure

When you take out a mortgage, the home you intend to buy often serves as the collateral on your loan.

The house is the lender’s guarantee that you will commit to paying off your loan in monthly installments over the next 15 to 30 years, depending on the terms of payment you agreed upon.

If you cannot repay the debt, the lender has the right take ownership of the house and sell it to cover the unpaid debt. This process is known as foreclosure.

Here are the 4 components of a mortgage payment:

  • Principal
    The money you borrowed. You can shave around 20% off the amount by calling it the down payment you paid on your home. Reducing your principal is important because of…
  • Interest
    mortgageIt’s what the bank or lender charges you on the money you borrowed. Because the calculation of your interest depends on the amount of your loan, it makes sense to reduce your principal any way you can.The interest is usually expressed as a percentage called the interest rate. Interest rates depend strongly on your financial situation as evaluated by the lender, which can be around 5 to 6%.
  • Taxes
    Taxes consist mostly of the property taxes your community charges you, which is based on a percentage of the value of your home. These taxes serve an important purpose as they are mainly used to support city, school district, county, and state infrastructure.
  • Insurance
    This covers your home and other personal property against losses incurred from fire, theft, and other causes. Bear in mind that if you don’t have home insurance, your lender will not let you close the deal on your home purchase.


This is the term used for your monthly mortgage payments, consisting of principal and interest. Your amortization reduces your debt over a fixed period of time.

For the first few years, your amortization will go toward paying off the interest on your loan. Only when the interest is fully paid will your monthly payments be applied on your principal.

If you need to find out more on how mortgages work and which option is the best for you, connect with the GioHomes team today.


So you’re thinking of buying your first investment property…

Thinking of investing in real estate?

Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself before you take the plunge:

1.     Are you prepared?

Owning and managing your own investment property can take its toll. It’s a demanding endeavor, with your investment requiring regular upkeep. Aside from denting your pocketbook, it’s also a challenge to manage an investment property. So, what should you do?

2.     Are your finances in order?

Before you reap the rewards of your investment, you’ll have to tend it. Make sure your personal finances are more than adequate to run and maintain your property—on top of buying it in the first place.

3.     Do you know enough about current market trends?

iStock_000005841517_MediumYou won’t be able to maximize the advantages of owning an investment property if you’re clueless. Read up on real estate – whether from books, websites, blogs, or industry sites. Follow relevant threads on forums. If you know someone who’s managing his or her own investment property, don’t hesitate to ask questions. Check out the following resources on property management:

4.     Are you thinking of hiring a property manager?

You could opt to become a hands-on owner, managing rentals on your own. Or, you could hire a professional property management company to look after your real estate investment. So, what are the benefits of hiring a competent and experienced property manager?

  • You get higher quality tenants because property managers have a strict screening process that can also affect tenant retention and vacancy cycles
  • You’re less stressed – ceding rent collection, inspections, and other legal and financial real estate dealings to your property manager
  • You benefit from your manager’s industry knowledge and experience
  • You have more time to yourself (and enjoy life)


If you’re interested in knowing more about the pluses of hiring an expert property manager, click here.

Investing on a real estate property is an exciting venture that, if done correctly, can open new doors for you.

Don’t rush; consult your trusted real estate agent about your options. We at Gio Homes will be happy to answer your questions. Call us now at 914-946-1067 or email to learn more about investing in real estate.


Featured Property: 1081 Palmer Avenue, Larchmont, NY 10538


Get settled in right away in this 2-story raised ranch-style home located along Palmer Avenue in the lovely village of Larchmont in the town of Mamaroneck.

Built in 1966, the house has been extensively renovated with many modern features.

The price of the house is $995,000.

Exterior features

The property consists of a 0.16-acre lot with ample backyard space and trees all around.

The house features brick and vinyl finishing on the exterior surfaces, as well as a fenced level backyard with patio, garden, and parking driveway.

It sits on Palmer Avenue, a tree-lined street that is a short distance to the town center, Central School, and the shopping and dining district on West Boston Post Road / U.S. Route 1.

Interior features

The spacious 2,432-square-feet home has 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and a new eat-in kitchen with island, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances.

The lower level includes a family room, office, laundry room, and attached 2-car garage.

The first floor has the kitchen, bedrooms, and master bedroom with walk-in closet, Jacuzzi tub, and separate shower area.

Living areas sport hardwood floors, while bathrooms have elegant above-counter vessel sinks with modern fixtures.

About Mamaroneck

Mamaroneck has been named one of the Best Places to Live in New York for its low unemployment rate and the good quality of life of its residents.

It’s one of the oldest towns in Westchester County, distinguished by its diverse population and picturesque surroundings. It’s also about less than an hour and 30 minutes from Manhattan on the commute.

Mamaroneck is known too for offering extensive residential options including luxury lakefront homes on the Long Island Sound, co-ops, and this featured single-family home.

For more information on this property, contact Vivan Chen from GioHomes Real Estate at (914) 946-1067 to schedule a viewing, or request for additional details.


10 of the best neighborhoods in Westchester County

Just north of New York City, Westchester County is an ideal location for suburbanites who commute to work in Manhattan some 30 miles away.

Westchester is a charming community. Its 900,000 residents live across 49 towns, all offering a wealth of housing options to suit every need.

Here’s just a few of the best neighborhoods found in Westchester County:

1. Dobbs Ferry
Offering a truly diverse selection of homes ranging from classic Victorians to mid-century split-levels, to condos and million-dollar estates, this river town has been regarded as a warm and comfortable place to live.

2. Fleetwood
This busy and diverse neighborhood in North Mount Vernon has numerous vintage homes as well as pre- and post-war buildings. Convenient commuting remains Fleetwood’s biggest draw, since it’s just blocks away from the Metro-North station, and it’s right off Exit 8 on the Cross County.

3. Irvington
This unassuming river town named after Washington Irving is pretty near perfect, with a charming Main Street, burgeoning dining scene, and stunning river views. You’ll find sprawling park estates, elegant brick Colonials, and stately historical homes from among a diverse array of residences.

Partial View of Mamaroneck Harbor

Partial View of Mamaroneck Harbor

4. Mamaroneck

This historic harbor-side village with a diverse population and an array of shops and restaurants offers a lot of residential options, from co-op apartments to multi-million-dollar waterfront homes on the Long Island Sound – making Mamaroneck an attractive place to live for people of different incomes.

5. Mount Kisco
Downtown streets lined with a mix of big chains and small mom and pop stores offers shoppers the best of both worlds. It makes this diverse community one of the more desirable places to live in Westchester County, especially with its affordable home prices.

6. New Rochelle
Residents of New Rochelle have long praised the town’s ethnic diversity, community spirit, school system, and economic mix. It’s one of those places where the old and new, and the hip and traditional co-exist harmoniously. The same qualities can be seen in the town’s real estate, which range from sprawling multimillion dollar acreage to turn-of-the-century single family homes on tree-lined streets.

7. Ossining
One of the more affordable places to buy a home, Ossining also has low property taxes and above average schools. It’s also got a charming downtown area and an impressive number of structures that are on the National Register of Historic Places.

8. Rye
With 6 square miles of land and 14 square miles of water, Rye City is the smallest city in Westchester County – but it’s the wealthiest and most historic. Almost three-quarters of the homes are single-family residences, and the area has been described as having the “cuteness of a village, but it is a city.”

9. Tarrytown
Blending lovely small-town charm with modern diversity, Tarrytown bustles with appealing antique shops, art galleries, specialty stores, gourmet eateries, and a great music hall. Forbes Magazine did the right thing by including Tarrytown in their list of America’s 10 Prettiest Towns.

10. White Plains
The only municipality with a real skyline, White Plains owes its transformation to urban planners. They turned the town into a vibrant city, with an abundance of condominium apartments. Liveability has gone up, along with high walkability to nearby amenities, like having a Walmart a block away from a Ritz-Carlton.

Find out more on the best neighborhoods to live in Westchester County by getting in touch with us at the GioHomes Team today.


A helpful checklist for buyers and sellers

Buying a home is going to be one of the biggest financial decisions you are going to make in your lifetime. Therefore, it’s best to prepare yourself to ensure that you end up with a worthwhile piece of property that suits your needs.

What you need to know before buying a house

    • Before you even start looking for a house, get pre-qualified
      This is important because once you’re pre-qualified, you’ll know exactly how much you can afford – which will help a lot in narrowing down your choices.

Looking at house key through magnifying glass

  • Secure pre-approval
    Homebuyers with pre-approved loans have an edge over other buyers. If you know the types of mortgage options available to you. you can be sure that the loan product you’ve chosen is really the right one for you.
  • Know what you want in a home
    It helps to make a list. Write down the features you deem essential, nice to have but can do without, and so on. Knowing what you want at the outset will save you the time and trouble of searching homes that aren’t even in the neighborhood of your requirements.
  • Choose the right real estate professional
    You can buy a home without the help of a real estate agent, sure. But there’s nothing like the security of having an experienced and knowledgeable professional by your side to help with your decisions.


Questions you need to consider before selling your home

If you’re thinking of placing your home on the market, downsizing, or relocating to a new neighborhood, make sure you’ve answered the questions below:

  • Is selling your house really an option?
    Before you decide to put your home on the market, find out if selling is the best option for you. Keep in mind that depending on the state of the market, selling your home could take longer than you anticipated. Make sure that this is what you really want before you embark on the process.
  • Are you doing it alone?
    Find the right real estate agent to help you sell your home. Of course, you can close the deal yourself, but you will be depriving yourself of the advice, guidance, and marketing experience that a seasoned professional can provide.
  • Do you know exactly how much your home is worth?
    Check out the prices of homes similar to yours and get your home inspection done. Once you know if your home has defects that you need to correct and improve, so you can price your property accordingly.
  • Does your home look appealing at first sight?
    First impressions count a lot, so make your home as appealing as possible. You can undertake simple repairs and upgrades, and give your home a through scrub down so it looks clean and inviting. A little elbow grease can make a huge difference in the quality of offers that you’ll get.

Connect with our team today so we can assist you with all your home buying and selling needs.