Home Buying

Old World Charm Meets Modern Amenities!

Old World Charm
Meets Modern Amenities!

By Michael Turner
Associate Real Estate Broker

Move right into this completely renovated, lovely Tudor home in White Plains!

  • Beautiful old world charm
  • Completely renovated
  • Spectacular high-end amenities
  • Close to all!

The enchanting stone wall and French Normandy flair of this house is only the beginning. Step into the foyer to find the powder room on the left and the main staircase of the residence. The dining room will welcome you on the left and will lead you into the totally updated gourmet kitchen.

Gourmet kitchen offers stainless steel appliances with granite counters tops, Wolf 6-burner stove, all other appliances (including convection oven) are top of the line Electrolux.

Access the deck through a door located between the kitchen and the huge living room. The focal point of the living room is the impressive wood burning fireplace. There is an office and a den off the living room. Completing the main floor is an efficiency 1-bedroom apartment which can be used as an au_pair or guest suite. The second floor offers an amazing master bedroom with spa-like bath and huge walk-in closet. Two comfortable sized family bedrooms and updated hall bath complete the 2nd floor.

The third floor can be used as playroom, family room or bedroom and has a full bath and brand-new A/C system.

This house is located close to schools, restaurants, shops, parks, places of worship, public transportation etc.

There is an existing security system in the house, pre-wired sound system, heated two car garage with a large driveway for all your guests, central vac, 4 zone HVAC, and new boiler. The garage is located in the basement as well as small finished space and laundry room.

There is a huge back yard for your family’s enjoyment.

To see more information please visit:
https://www.giohomes.com/homes-for-sale-results/?listingIdList=4832227
Call me at 914-714-4849 or e-mail me to book an appointment for a private showing,  michael@giohomes.com

 

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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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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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House-hunting by style

HomebuyingWestchester County real estate is characterized by diverse housing options, ideal for meeting different needs and preferences. To help you out in the home-buying process, here are some of the quintessential architectural styles you can find in Westchester County’s real estate market.

    1. Modern – Modern homes are often characterized by its simplicity in form and design. Windows might occupy large sections of the walls, and some modern homes come with flat roofs. Inside, you’re greeted with an open living plan. Some Modern-style residences also connect indoor and outdoor spaces for a seamless living experience.

    2. Victorian – Victorian-style homes are ornate as Modern homes are minimalist in design. Distinctive features of a Victorian home include decorative trims, wraparound porches, and different parlors. You can find most of Westchester County’s Victorian-style residences in the Rivertowns.

    3. Tudor / Tudor Revival–This architectural style first became in the late 19th century and still remained in fashion until the first half of the 20th century. An import from Europe, Tudors and Tudor Revivals are usually made from a mix of materials, including stucco, bring, and wood. Asymmetric in design, features include detailed woodwork and masonry, steep gabled roofs, casement windows, and dormers.

    4. Ranch –A classic American style, a Ranch home is defined by long, low rooflines, big picture windows, a built-in garage, and sliding doors which will lead you to a patio. Ranch homes, also called California ranches, are great for single level living and designed for that lifestyle. There are design variations, however, such as raised ranch and split-level. Ranch homes also often come with simple and open floor plans and occupy a larger footprint. Due to the latter, there aren’t a lot of Ranch homes in Westchester, but you can still find this style with the right real estate agent by your side.

    5. Cape Cod – Cape Cods are often found in Long Island, but you can find this popular style in Westchester County as well. Cape Cods are usually straightforward and come with one or one-and-a-half stories. Its roofline, one its most distinctive features, often slants down to the first floor. Most Cape Cods are finished in shingles, and offer less space than other styles.

    6. Colonial–Highly regarded as one of the most traditional home styles in the country, Colonials are prevalent in Westchester County. You can easily spot such a home as they rectangular in shape and very symmetrical in design. Double-hung windows are another feature, and are often made of brick and solid stone.

Looking for more information about home-buying in Westchester County? Check out our blog.

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What the TRID Means for Newbies and Veteran Real Estate Buyers and Sellers

Truth in Home LendingLast October, a new set of closing disclosures came into effect. Here, we’ll discuss its purpose and how it affects you as a home buyer or a home seller.

TRID stands for TILA (Truth in Lending Act) RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act) Integrated Disclosure. It basically means the TILA and the RESPA were joined into one form that can help home buyers like you understand all the costs and risks of mortgage.

A change in timelines

The new TRID form’s main effect on home buyers and sellers is that it can dramatically affect their timeline. If you’re a buyer purchasing a home from Person B, you can’t close the sale without having the Closing Disclosure delivered to you by the lender three days before the closing date.

Who is affected?

If you’re a buyer or a seller who borrowed from a lender not considered a creditor by the governing body, you’re exempted from the new rules. The same goes for any buyer or seller with less than 5 loans in a year, or those with HELOCs, reverse mortgages, and loans that aren’t attached to any real property.

You will be greatly affected by the new TRID form if you’re a retail buyer or you’re a real estate flipper. The additional disclosures (the Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure) can throw your schedule in disarray. As mentioned a few paragraphs earlier, the Closing Disclosure is given after a 3-day review period. If there are any specific changes to the loan terms, you’ll need to push back your closing date to have a new Closing Disclosure reviewed and delivered again.

Bottom line: if you don’t want to get your deal thrown under the bus, it’s best to take care of all the specifics of your loan more than 3 days before the closing date. Should there be any changes to your loan terms, there will still be enough time for another 3-day review for your new Closing Disclosure.

For more details about the new TRID, contact me at 914-946-1067. Check out our Resources page for more real estate buyer and seller information.

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Tips for choosing the right home inspector

Choosing Home InspectorWhether you’re a home buyer or seller, the home inspection is one of the most important parts of the entire process.

For buyers, a home inspection will bring to light problems that you might not have noticed before. In some cases, a buyer can discover issues about the home that cause them to rethink their purchase.

For sellers, having your home inspected can show you what you need to fix before you put your home on the market, eliminating the need to haggle with potential buyers over the price.

Choosing the right home inspector is a crucial part to making the home inspection process run smoothly. Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind when choosing a home inspector:

  • It’s wise to try looking for a home inspector first even before looking for a home. When you’re already engaged in negotiations with a home seller, your time is limited, so you may feel pressured to go with the first home inspector you encounter.
  • Try asking your friends or relatives for recommendations. You can also look for local home inspectors on the American Society of Home inspectors website.
  • Remember to talk with prospective inspectors thoroughly. Ask them about their background, how long they’ve been in the business, how many successful inspections they’ve performed, and what type of report they can provide you.
  • Look for an inspector who will remain objective and independent throughout the process. An inspector should not be affiliated with the real estate agency in charge of selling the home.
  • Choose an inspector who specializes in the particular type of home you’re about to buy or sell. Each home is built differently and is made using different materials, thus there are different risks, signs, and symptoms to look out for.
  • Make sure your inspector can submit a complete report in a timely manner, so you can have plenty of time for review. Most inspectors can also provide you with an electronic copy, so you can share it to friends and relatives via e-mail if needed.

For more helpful tips, take a look at this page.

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The 8 Stages of Buying a Home

Are you finally thinking of buying your own house? Congratulations!Before you take the plunge, you may want to learn more about the8 stages of the home buying process.

  • Get pre-qualified

If you’re serious about buying a home, the first step is to determine how much you can afford. This involves having your financial profile assessed. You’ll be asked about your income, debt, and assets.It’s a fairly simple process you can do online or over the phone.
Getting pre-qualified shows you the amount for which you may qualify for a mortgage.

  • Hire a local agent or a broker

Find someone who has a great track record. You will want to check if they havegood reviews from both buyers and sellers. There’s nothing like a word-of-mouth recommendation!

At this very early stage, an agent will also be able to help you go through the next stage of the process, which is pre-approval.

  • Get pre-approved

The pre-approval process is a more in-depth version of the pre-qualification stage. It involves getting your financials thoroughly checked, including your credit report, and crucially, your ability to buy a home.

Here, you’ll need to fill up a mortgage application and surrender your financial records to the lender. Your agent can help you identify, if not gather, the required documents to complete the process.

Once you’ve been pre-approved, you’ll know two things:

      • The specific amount forwhich you qualify for a mortgage
      • A fair idea on the interest rate you’ll be charged on the loan
  • Decide where you’d like to live

Now that you’ve been pre-approved, it’s time to think about the kind of community you’d like to belong to. Scour the Internet and read up on areas and specific neighborhoods you see yourself living in. Create a checklist of what you deem important, including amenities, commutes, and cost of living.

  • Return to your agent

Meet with your agent and discuss the kind of home you’re looking for based on your pre-approval and your neighborhood checklist.

Your broker may probe you about your current needs and future plans to make sure you get the kind of home you can grow with. Are you a new couple looking to have kids in the near future? Or are you a retiree who may need outside assistance down the road?

Your agent will look through available listings and arrange viewings of homes that fit your bill.

  • Have the property inspected

Once you decide to make an offer on a home, have it inspected within days of the seller accepting your offer. A professional home inspector will make sure there are no issues related to structural integrity, plumbing, cracks, heating, etc. If there are potential problems, your agent will talk to the sellerto renegotiate the original offer or figure out how to settle repairs.

  • Have the home appraised

Your lender will contact a third-party appraiser to make sure the home you intend to buy is fairly priced.

  • Finalize your loan

Work with your lender to ensure the terms of your mortgage match your priorities. Do you want your monthly payments fixed? What if you plan to move again in a few years; what’s the best product to answer that need?

As you go through these 8 steps, your agent will be there to complete the paperwork, negotiate on your behalf, and ensure that no detail is overlookedas you move towards theclose of the sale.

If you’re looking for homes in Westchester County, New York, contact us today.

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