Author Archives: GioHomes

Westchester County and the real estate market after Tax Day 2019!

Giovanni Gonzalez | April 2019

Ever since December 2017 when the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) was signed into law, I have been thinking that April 2019 would be a breaking point.

I would venture to say that for most of the Country, Tax Day 2019 brought a mixed bag. Some got a bigger tax refund; some got a smaller tax refund. For a large number of Westchester County residents, the new so-called SALT (State and Local Tax) deduction of $10,000 actually became a net tax increase.

By the end of the first quarter of the year our real estate market has reacted in different ways according to my observation:

  1. For properties listed under the $800,000 number, the market is still a seller’s market. There are plenty of residual buyers out there trying to capitalize on the low interest rate and the inventory is still low. We are still seeing multiple-offer situations in some cases.
  1. For properties listed between $800,000 to $2,000,000 the market is flat. There are buyers for these properties, but they don’t have a sense of urgency. They are being more careful, especially those buyers above the $1,000,000 (these properties are subject to a mansion tax). Of course, these properties are selling but their marketability is now more a function of their real value.
  1. Properties Listed above $2,000,000 are struggling, some sources indicate sales falling 30% to 40%. There are several reasons for this decline but in my mind the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is the main reason.

It is important to note that the real estate market in NYC has been faltering for the last 18 months. Westchester is suffering the consequences of the softening of the NYC market because we feed from those buyers. Those NYC residents that had hopes to move to suburbia looking for more space to raise their families are not going to be able to do so until their properties go into contract. Meanwhile their properties sit on the market and their values go down as NYC also assimilates the changes of the new tax law. Some of them now will have to worry about another law. You guessed it, the NYS Transfer and Mansion Tax.

At some point the effect of the SALT cap will be assimilated into the pricing, in the mean time we can only wait and hope for the best.

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What We Stand For

During the holidays we all get invited to parties and appreciation events. We normally end up meeting people we have dealt with in the past, new faces, and hanging out with our favorite groups. Sometimes we accidentally eavesdrop in conversations. It is all fun! It’s the holidays.

Well, this time we didn’t need to eavesdrop. The conversation took place right in front of us as we were sipping cocktails. This overly animated agent was describing how working for this top notch Real Estate company has made her so successful. She can hardly find enough time to breath. She gestures and gasps for air as she disparages that her buyers all come from “the city”. They don’t know anything about the market but they, desperately need to get in a particular school district. She then describes how she refers out all the business outside of her little community because she just can’t be bothered. She goes on saying that her co-league goes around town knocking on doors asking home owners to list their properties with him…and they do, she adds! In the euphoria of the conversation the guy next to me jumps in and states that he does the same thing and he just managed to land a listing in the millions, that he will probably have to refer out because he has a busy life. He adds: “I tell all my clients upfront that I am a family man, I have kids and elderly relatives, I don’t work Saturday or Sunday”. He is not done, “If my buyers don’t purchase a house after I show them 6 properties I fire them”! Me and my associate look at each other and walk away. We heard enough!

Photo taken from the HuffPost: How To Become A Real Estate Agent

Here is where I have to include our mantra. GioHomes Real Estate is a local real estate company founded in 2006  based on a philosophy of customer satisfaction. We believe that success in real estate only comes from understanding the client’s needs and satisfying them. We abandoned the corporate premise of quantity and embraced the concept of quality.

Long gone are the days when the information was in the hands of few. The internet and social media now opens the door to the endless possibilities for buyers and sellers. It has empowered small businesses like GioHomes to step out of the old structure and create a more transparent and efficient market.

Yes, we believe that our clients are well informed buyers and our job is to help them achieve their goals of home ownership. And, our sellers are smart competent home owners with busy lives that require the assistance of a real estate professional to handle the sale of their houses.

Now, you probably have a better understanding of why we are a boutique real estate company. We are always here for you!

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Westchester Real Estate and the New Tax Law

The real estate market in Westchester County, home to one of the country’s largest property-tax
burden, has been on a roll. The approval of the tax reform will more likely have an impact on the market since it punishes
residents with even higher costs. The big question is: can the market continue thriving?

Cracks are already forming. The number of closed sales dropped, the second straight quarter. Purchase contracts are down as well. Those might be the first signs that buyers are wavering,
and that prices may need to adjust to reflect the now-higher
costs of owning a home in the well-to-do suburbs.

Right now everyone’s calling their accountant….. yes, we did it too. We found no answers because the IRS has not been able to create the guidelines to implement the new law.  The situation gets more complicated when we include the Co-op corporations since they have very large underlying mortgages, and nobody seems to know how those will be treated when it comes to taxes and the pass-through effect that will end up affecting the home owner’s pockets.

We would be surprised if this doesn’t apply some downward pressure on the higher side of the
market. We could see a period of indecision on both the sellers and buyer’s side. Buyers will be looking for a formula that allows them to afford their home.

 

In real estate one amenity is king….. LOCATION.  Those of us who love this wonderful county of ours, those who enjoy the proximity to NYC and all the wonderful amenities Westchester County has to offer are going to need to grab our calculators and make sure we run our numbers properly. At the end of the day a change in the tax code is not likely to discourage people from making decisions that are basically lifestyle decisions. People need to live somewhere and more likely we are going to live close to our jobs  and send our children to the wonderful school districts we have. There are going to be adjustments in the market but we don’t know the real impact yet.

At GioHomes we are here to help. To us what really matter is what our client’s needs. How can we maximize their earnings and/minimize their loss? How can we help them transition in a seamless manner.

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At GioHomes we make your goal our goal

GioHomes’ Team Celebrating the Holidays

GioHomes Real Estate is a local real estate company founded in 2006 based on a philosophy of customer satisfaction. We believe that success in real estate only comes from understanding the client’s needs and satisfying them. We abandoned the corporate premise of quantity and embraced the concept of quality.

Long gone are the days when the information was in the hands of few. The internet and social media now opens the door to the endless possibilities for buyers and sellers. It has empowered small businesses like GioHomes to step out of the old structure and create a more transparent and efficient market.

Years of experience, training, and ongoing education give us the tools to offer prospective buyers and sellers an alternative in a market that was once dominated by large corporations. GioHomes offers opportunities where buyers and sellers are no longer a number in the chaos of politics and paperwork but rather a voice that demands to be serviced.

Please let us know how we can help you.

GioHomes Real Estate LLC.

914-946-1067 – info@giohomes.com – www.giohomes.com

In the picture Lloyd Mascarenhas, Michael Turner, Annette Zito, Phyllis Marcus (legal counsel), Giovanni Gonzalez and Vivian Chen.

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Fun Things to do in Scarsdale for the Whole Family

Boulder Brook Equestrian Center.

Boulder Brook Equestrian Center.

Although Scarsdale is just a short 30-minute train ride from New York City, there is no need to venture out town to go on an outing with the whole family. Consider this as your bucket list of fun things to do with your whole family in Scarsdale. The young and the young-at-heart will definitely have a good time.

  1. Enjoy a well-made pizza pie at Buon Amici Deli. This pizza place in the heart of Scarsdale is a well-loved institution among Scarsdale locals. For sure, the whole family will have a treat biting into delicious Italian take-out.
  2. Make Spanish your first (or your second) language. Adapt a foreign language as your own. In this day and age of globalization, you’ll never know when and where your Spanish skills will come in handy. Little Linguists offers an array of fun Spanish classes for children, so sign them and start them early.
  3. Take a dip at the Scarsdale Municipal Pool Complex. Cool off during the summertime and take a relaxing dip with the whole family at the Scarsdale Municipal Pool Complex. The facility is complete with a snack bar in case you get hungry, and a playground where all the children can romp and socialize.
  4. Get competitive and play sports at Crossway Park. Crossway Park’s open fields are the perfect arena for nice game of tennis and more. After a tiring game, head over to the covered picnic area and enjoy a delectable picnic.
  5. Drop by the Scarsdale High School Carnival. Every year, Scarsdale High School organizes a carnival that’s open to everyone. Invite your family and even friends for a fun day out. Both kids and adult will definitely have a blast trying out all the rides, skill games, and other carnival features.
  6. Take horseback riding lessons at Boulder Brook Equestrian Center. It’s never too late for a person to take horseback riding lessons. For little kids, Boulder Brook offers pony rides that are both safe and fun. You’ll never know – the next great equestrian might be somebody you know.

 
Scarsdale is full of wonderful opportunities for the whole family. Check out our community profile for more information.

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Smart features that will take your home to the cutting edge of living

CUTTING EDGE OF LIVINGSeveral years ago, “smart features” for home were considered somewhat of a fad. However, in a survey conducted by Coldwell Banker Real Estate, almost two-thirds of the company’s agents discovered that today’s home buyers are showing more interest in homes equipped with smart features, compared to two to five years ago.

Due to the increasing demand for smart homes, it’s also essential for buyers to figure out which smart features will really give them their money’s worth. Want to know what smart features most buyers are looking for today? Take a look at our list below:

Lutron Caseta Wireless

Designed by Pennsylvania-based Lutron Electronics, the Caseta Wireless is an automated lighting system that controls your home’s lighting, including shade position and temperature. The system can be controlled using an app downloadable on tablets, smartphones, and smartwatches.

Sengled Pulse Smart Bulb

Created by Chinese company Sengled, the Pulse Smart Bulb is both a functional lighting system and an entertainment device rolled into one. Each bulb also functions as a wireless speaker, allowing users to stream music from their smart devices into the bulb.

iSmart Alarms

The iSmart Alarm system allows homeowners to check on their homes just by using a smart device. The system comes with door and window sensors, motion detectors, and cameras connected wirelessly. The app used to control the system also gives users control over the home’s thermostat, lighting, and smoke detectors.

Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock

With the Kevo Smart Lock, there’s no longer a need for a set of keys – you can unlock every door in your house just by using your smartphone. With this system, homeowners can grant access to certain people (like neighbors or house cleaners) for a certain period of time, without the need to hand them an actual key.

For more helpful home tips, visit this page.

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Dining in Bronxville

If you’re looking for the perfect restaurant to try in Bronxville, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the best restaurants to try in the village:

Photo courtesy of Il Bacio Trattoria Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of Il Bacio Trattoria Facebook page.

Il Bacio Trattoria

1 Park Place, Bronxville, NY
914-337-4100

Opened in 2002, Il Bacio Trattoria is the place to go for delicious pizza, artisan gelato, and other traditional Italian favorites. The restaurant is very well-designed, with its interiors inspired by the elegant Roman-style homes in Frosinone, Italy. Besides their delicious pizzas, must-try menu items include their homemade lasagna di casa, gnocchi alla Bolognese, stuffed artichokes, and manicotti.

Elia Taverna

502 New Rochelle Road, Bronxville, NY
914-663-4976

Located in scenic Chester Heights just off the Hutchinson River Parkway, Elia Taverna prides itself in offering authentic, homemade Greek cuisine in a relaxing setting. Their menu includes a wide variety of authentic, expertly prepared Greek favorites like the classic gyro sandwich and the traditional moussaka. Their dishes are best enjoyed by pairing them with restaurant’s own selection of exclusive wines and beers. You’ll definitely be shouting “OPA!” after finishing your meal at Elia Taverna.

Rosie’s Bistro Italiano

10 Palmer Avenue, Bronxville, NY
914-793-2000

Rosie’s Bistro Italiano serves delicious, mouthwatering Italian and continental cuisine in a classy and welcoming ambiance. The place is very popular among Bronxville residents, so it’s likely you’ll need to call ahead and get a reservation. Their menu includes enticing dishes such as baked zucchini, spaghetti pomodoro, thin crust pizzas, lasagna, breaded veal tenderloin, and more.

Pondfield Cafe

3 Pondfield Road West, Bronxville, NY
914-337-5221

Located at the heart of Bronxville, Pondfille Café is a cozy café that serves classic American-style food at very affordable prices. The place is excellent particularly for breakfasts and brunches, and their daily specials are simply to die for.

To find out more about Westchester County’s great restaurants, visit this page.

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The Best Eats in Eastchester

New Yorkers all share an intense love for good food, no matter where you are in the state. Take the locals of Eastchester for example – ask one of them and they’ll direct you to some of the best restaurants in the neighborhood. If you don’t have time to ask people, however, use this quick guide for the best eats in Eastchester.

Polpettina
102 Fisher Ave, Eastchester, NY
Go here for: Signature meatballs and pizza.

Described as a real gem by many Eastchester locals, Polpettina serves Italian fare that remains true to its earthy and ancient roots. Some of the ingredients are locally sourced from the best producers, ensuring great quality that you can taste in the finished product. Aside from the food, Polpettina’s Eastchester joint is known for its exposed-brick walls and décor that makes this Italian bistro not just easy on the taste buds, but on the eyes as well. Check out their Larchmont branch where they serve up a full array of Prohibition-era cocktails.

Burrata Wood Fired Pizza
425 White Plains Rd, Eastchester, NY
Go here for: Neapolitan pizzas, cocktails, and gourmet Italian food.

Eastchester locals sure love their Italian food. If you’re craving for more Italian fare, drop by Burrata Wood Fired Pizza along White Plains Rd. This stylish restaurant shines their spotlight on their pizzas that are best described as simple, pure, and fresh. Did we mention their pies are cooked in wood fire? Start your course with some of their beloved antipasti and end your meal with the dessert of your choice. Nutella pizza and amaro affogato, anyone?

Piper’s Kilt
433 White Plains Rd, Eastchester, NY
Go here for: A variety of melt-in-your-mouth burgers and pub fare.

Situated on a dimly lit tavern, Piper’s Kilt is a favorite among locals for serving some of the best burgers and pub grub in town. Aside from their delectable and legendary half-pound burgers, Piper’s Kilt is known for having a beer, wine, and spirit selection that’s larger than life. What better way to enjoy your food than to pair it with a good wine that hits all the right spots. Piper’s Kilt also serves weekday brunches, so bring your friends and family for a nice get-together.

That’s just three of the best-loved dining establishments in Eastchester. Subscribe to our blog so you can keep yourself updated with all the latest Eastchester news. For more information about the community itself, check out our Community Profile.

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5 tips to help you create your own office space at home

Working at homeWhen you love, live, and breathe work, it’s of paramount importance to create a productive space in your home. Here are some tips to help you create a stylish, comfortable, and above all, functional home office.

    1. Determine the type of work to be done. Not all of us work in the same industry, so it’s important to carve out a space in your home that will suit your work best. Those who do most of their work in a laptop can transform a nook into a functional office space, while those who require more equipment would do well with larger spaces. For example, Anne-Marie Kavulla, owner of Pirtti Handwoven and Westchester resident, has a home office with plenty of natural light and enough space to do her work as a weaver.

    2. Stock on essential items. There are at least four must-have objects for every home office: a door, comfortable furniture, storage, and headphones. A door is important to create privacy, while you’ll need comfortable furniture especially if you’re going to work for long periods of time. Storage, like bookcases or vertical cabinets, are great for other items like printers, books, files, and such. And to make it clear you’re not to be disturbed, slap on a pair of headphones to cancel out the noise.

    3. Hang an inspiration board. Use tape and tacks to hang important reminders, ideas, inspiration, and even pictures on your board. Not only does it personalize your office space and help you organize stuff (especially if you’re visually inclined), it also helps clear important surfaces for other items.

    4. Personalize your office space. Just because it’s a home office doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it. Hang pictures or posters of your favorite movies. If you like plants, you can add potted succulents as décor. Another way to personalize your home office is to pick a color palette that suits your taste.

    5. De-clutter. It’s hard to work with so many items lying around. Once a while, take time to de-clutter and organize your things. You’ll soon notice you’re becoming more productive!

    If you’re having trouble deciding on what you want your home office to look like, search the internet for inspiration. Pinterest always helps!

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The Best Places to Grab Lunch in Scarsdale

best-eats-in-scarsdaleExperts say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but if you’re planning on lunching in Scarsdale, lunch will easily become your favorite food-centered affair. Treat yourself or invite your friends and loved ones for a lunch date at these restaurants.

Moscato Restaurant
874 Scarsdale Ave, Scarsdale, NY
Go here for: High-end Italian-Mediterranean fare served on a stylish platter.

Serving lunch, brunch, and dinner, this Italian Trattoria is a go-to for Scarsdale locals craving a wide range of Italian-Mediterranean offerings. Moscato’s lunch menu includes a variety of pizza, pasta, dry cured meats, mixed cheese, and fresh vegetables, among others. You can also opt for a pre-fixed three-course lunch that consists any appetizer, between course, and main course of your choice for less than $30.

The 808 Bistro
808 Scarsdale Ave, Scarsdale, NY
Go here for: A one-of-a-kind American-Italian menu, not to mention an impressive bar.

Famous for their Italian fusion cuisine, The 808 Bistro has consistently drawn a diverse crowd, making this Scarsdale hotspot a trendy, downtown hangout and lunch spot. The 808 Bistro’s lunch menu includes lobster and shrimp bisque, a variety of specialty salads, salmon, seared striped bass, grilled pork, chicken, an array of wraps, pasta, omelettes, and sandwiches. Pair your meal with a nice vintage from The 808 Bistro’s wine collection. It can get pretty crowded, so make sure to reserve a spot before you drop by.

Eastchester Fish Gourmet
837 White Plains Rd, Scarsdale, NY
Go here for: The freshest seafood in probably the whole of New York.

Founded in 1981, Eastchester Fish Gourmet has long been a Scarsdale landmark and institution. Known for its critically acclaimed market and fresh seafood offerings, it’s no wonder plenty of people have made the trip from their homes just to get a taste of how fresh the fish is. Get your fish for the weekend here, then stop by the restaurant for lunch. Eastchester Fish Gourmet’s menu is ever evolving, showcasing the finest catch of the season. The best part? You don’t need a reservation!

We also recommend these places:

  • Chat (1 Christie Pl) – All-American pub grub.
  • Siam Thai Restaurant (750 Central Park Ave) – Traditional Thai cuisine.
  • Meritage Restaurant (1505 Weaver St) – Seasonal American-Italian fare.
  • Kirari Sushi Inc (30 Garth Rd) – Sushi, teriyaki, bento boxes, and more.
  • Jade Spoon Asian Cuisine (1473 Weaver St) – All-time Chinese favorites.

For more information about Scarsdale, check out our community profile.

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