Posts by Leah Caro

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Bronxville, NY | 3 Posts
Buy a House | 6 Posts
Homeowners | 20 Posts
Sell a Home | 15 Posts
Tarrytown, NY | 2 Posts
Uncategorized | 24 Posts
Yonkers, NY | 1 Posts
October
10

Making a good offer on a home can be a tricky balancing act. Here's how to do it right.

Finding the right home can spark feelings of relief, excitement, and anxiety all at once. Once you know a home is the right fit, many of our clients want to act fast. However, first-time homebuyers are often unfamiliar with the process and don't know how to go about making an offer. Luckily, our REALTORS® are here to help. 

There are lots of steps to making an offer, many of which you should start prior to home shopping. If you just discovered your perfect home, here is how to approach crafting the right offer:

Click Here to Read More...

December
20

American food is all about comfort, which is sure to warm you up during these colder months. Here are the Bronxville restaurants you have to visit.

A classic American dish coupled with a good beer and a nice restaurant... is there any better way to warm up this winter?

One of the best things about American cuisine is it often combines flavors and preparation styles that span multiple cultures into a single dish. Whether you're in the mood for burgers, chicken, chops, seafood, or pizza, you'll find all the best American cuisine right here in the greater New York area. Bronxville has a ton of fantastic classic American restaurants. Here are some top destinations from our REALTORS®.

Click Here to Read More...

December
6

The fireplace stands out most in your home during the winter months. Here's how you can tastefully decorate it without being excessive.

Interior decorating is a favorite wintertime activity for our REALTORS®, and we've become quite the pros when it comes to sprucing up our mantles. Your fireplace and mantle are the centers and focal points of your entire living room, which is why it's always a good idea to get your decor just right. 

Click Here to Read More...

February
6

HOME PURCHASE RELATED SITES

American Society of Home Inspectors

EPA's Mold Resource Site

US Census Bureau Information

Megan's Law (Sex Offender) Registry
1-800-262-3257

State of New York Banking Department Interest Rate Information

Consumer Loan Information, HSH Associates, Financial Publishers
(loan rates, calculators, mortgage stats, etc.)

SCHOOL INFORMATION

New York State Education Department

School Reports

NY State School "Report Cards"

National Center for Education Statistics

TRAVEL & TRANSPORTATION

Metro-North Railroad

Westchester Beeline Bus System

New York State Thruway System (maps, traffic cams, etc.)

Airport Information:

Kennedy, LaGuardia, Newark
Westchester

NYS Department of Motor Vehicles

LIVING IN WESTCHESTER

Statistical Data for every U.S. City

The Journal News
(local newspaper for Westchester, Putnam and Rockland Counties)

Westchester County Government
(including parks & recreation, health department, taxation, etc.)

Westchester Library System

Living in Westchester (general information, education, community services, etc.)

Historic River Towns of Westchester County

Hudson Valley Historic Properties

Westchester County Office of Tourism

Local Telephone Service (set up new service) (Verizon)
914-890-1550

Utilities (electric & gas)

Con Edison
1-800-752-6633

NY State Electric & Gas
1-800-572-1111

School Tax Relief Program (STAR)

Westchester Volunteer Center of United Way

NEW YORK STATE INFORMATION

New York State County Web Sites

New York State Citizen's Guide
(government, education, licenses, housing, taxes, consumer information, etc.)

New York State Parks

New York State Public Service Commission

NY State Department of Taxation & Finance

NY State Official Tourism Site

February
6

International Real Estate

Managed by a designated Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS), Bronxville Real Estate is equipped to navigate international real estate transactions.

If you are thinking of investing US Dollars abroad or spending foreign currency here, we can help you with commercial, residential or vacation properties.

Global economic conditions influence currency exchange rates and effect international buying power. Find today's exchange rates here.

Click here to view an up to date currency converter! 

February
6

Financial Calculators

Real Estate
Biweekly Mortgage Calculation - How much would your loan cost if you made payments every two weeks?
Canadian Mortgage Payment Table - Canadian mortgage calculator based on Canadian mortgage calculations.
How Much House Can You Afford? - You supply your income information and we calculate how much you can afford.
Mortgage Calculator - Find out how much that new home will cost!
Mortgage Payment Table Calculator - See how much a home loan will cost with varying interest rates and payments on the same chart!
Mortgage Qualification Calculator - See what lenders expect your minimum annual income to be in order to afford your next home.
Prepayment Mortgage Reduction - This form allows you to see how prepaying your mortgage reduces the length of your mortgage by putting in the current values for your loan.

Auto
Car Lease Calculator - How much will your payments be if you lease your next car?

Schooling
Tuition Savings Calculator - See how much you need to contribute each year in order to put your children through college.

Financial Planning
APR/Front End Cost Calculator - Calculates the upfront costs of the loan.
APR/Front End Cost Calculator - You give the upfront costs and it finds the actual Annual Percentage Rate.
Compound Interest Rate Calculation - This calculator simply takes the final amount you want to earn given an initial investment for a duration of time, and finds the required annual yield you would need to achieve that goal.
Deferred Payment Calculator - What will your monthly payment be if you defer a loan?
Future Value/Annuity Calculation - How much money do you need to save now to have what you want when you retire?
How Long Will It Last? - Loan Calculatorr - Here is a new twist on the mortgage calculator. Here you tell how much you want to spend each month, an interest rate and a loan amount, and the computer tells you how long it will take you to pay it off!
How Much to Retire - Here is a new simple retirement calculator. It tells how much you will need to provide a certain income for a set number of years.
Loan Payment Calculator - Enter the values and we will tell you the payment. The loan can be a mortgage, car loan, or any other simple interest amortization over a fixed time with fixed monthly payments.
Nominal and Effective Interest Rates - Calculate what rates are necessary to achieve a desired future value amount given a present value amount and the time period over which to compound your investment.
Prepayment vs. Investment -- A Scenario - This form allows you to compare what would happen if you took one of two choices with some extra cash you have -- prepaying your mortgage each month, or investing it instead.
Savings Calculator - This doesn't deal with inflation, taxes or any of that complicated stuff. This is just a simple calculator that lets you start with an amount of money and make regular monthly deposits, and see how much it grows. 

February
6

Short Sales:
(sometimes lenders use the term "upside down")

In general terms, a short sale is when the proceeds of a proposed sale of property are insufficient to pay off the loan(s) in full and the lender(s) agrees to accept less than the full loan repayment to release its secured lien against the property. The loan may be delinquent, in process of default or in imminent default when the lender agrees to a short sale.

In order for a lender to consider allowing a short sale, a homeowner will have to be able to document hardship and an inability to pay the difference between the mortgaged amount and the sale price. If the homeowner has other assets (i.e. bank or retirement accounts) or a high-income job with potential for high earnings down the road, a lender may not agree to accept a short sale, or may agree now but with a promissory note to repay the deficiency at a later date. A short sale can be a complicated process, so it is typically undertaken when a homeowner still has a relatively good credit rating worth preserving, but without the assets to pay off the loan balance. 

Homeowners considering applying to their lender for a short sale should consult an attorney and an accountant for professional advice regarding the implications, especially as the laws and rules may change regarding any tax implications for the homeowner in connection with a short sale. 

In addition to an attorney and an accountant, a real estate agent well-versed in the short sale process can be a valuable asset in negotiating with a lender regarding a short sale. Each lender's requirements vary, but most will require an extensive "short sale package" be submitted for their consideration. Some of the items in this package may include, but are not limited to: a net proceeds statement showing all related closing costs and the projected shortfall amount, a broker's price opinion to establish value or a current offer to purchase, the real estate agent's commission request, a financial hardship letter from the homeowner, and myriad financial documents from the homeowner including pay stubs, bank statements and tax returns. One of the key components of a short sale negotiation can be convincing the lender that allowing the short sale will net them a larger sum than if the property were to proceed to foreclosure and would then need to be marketed and sold. A knowledgeable Realtor can assist a homeowner in compiling and submitting this package, and with the homeowner's written consent, may also represent the homeowner in negotiations with the lender. 

In order to begin the short sale process, a homeowner will typically need to contact the lender's loss mitigation or workout department, rather than customer service or the collection department. Approval times can vary, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with the usual being 6 - 12 weeks. At that time, the lender can approve or deny the short sale, so both seller and prospective buyer need to understand the wait period, and that without the lender's approval, there can be no sale. 

If there are multiple lenders involved (i.e. a first mortgage & a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit that has been accessed), then approval may be required from more than one lender for a short sale to be completed. If any of the loans has been securitized (sold to a third-party or covered by private mortgage insurance), then approval may be needed from that entity as well. This can become very complicated, and sometimes the first place lien holder has little or no motivation to approve a short sale if they will be covered in getting their money repaid, whereas the second place lien holder might be left in the cold, with or without a short sale. A Realtor's skill and experience in negotiating these types of situations can be a tremendous benefit to the homeowner facing a short sale situation.

Some of the deterrents and impediments to a short sale may include the extensive paperwork that's required, determining that it's an "arm's length" transaction (i.e. the seller isn't selling to a relative at a bargain-basement price at the bank's expense), assuring the lender that the prospective purchaser can obtain financing for the deal, assessing the short sale proceeds versus the proceeds from a foreclosure sale, obtaining approval from all parties involved, and getting the right people involved from the beginning of the process.

As a homeowner, you should have a frank conversation up front with your Realtor if you feel you may have a potential short sale situation. Your real estate agent will have certain obligations to disclose this information to prospective buyers and other cooperating agents through the Multiple Listing Service. Banks, in agreeing to short sales, are asking the property's purchaser for indemnification and an acknowledgement that they are taking the house "as is". It is unlikely any bank will remedy any issues with the property in a short sale. 

Copyright 2014, Westchester Real Estate, Inc. 

February
6

Condominium Ownership

The owner of a condominium has a fee simple title (the same as for a single family home) and deed to the individual condo unit as well as an undivided interest in the common elements of the property such as the land, walls, hallways, roof, pool, clubhouse, etc. A prospectus or offering plan defines the common elements and describes the individual units. The condominium by-laws define the operating rules and establish procedures for an elected Board of Managers to oversee operation of the condominium. A monthly association fee is paid by the condo owners to cover the expenses of maintaining and operating the common elements (not tax deductible). Real estate taxes on the unit are assessed to and paid directly by the unit owner (tax deductible). Mortgage interest on any purchase loan is also paid directly by the unit owner (tax deductible). Generally, a condominium owner may sell or rent their unit as they wish. Condominium units exist in a variety of architectural styles, including buildings, attached, semi-attached and detached simplexes and duplexes.

Cooperative Ownership

In cooperative homeownership, the title to the land, building(s) and common elements is held by an apartment corporation. Unit owners purchase shares of stock in the corporation and obtain a proprietary lease for the unit and a stock certificate representing the number of shares owned (it is technically the purchase of "personal property" rather than "real property"). As stockholders, unit owners elect a Board of Directors to oversee administration of the building. The by-laws of a co-op typically give the Directors the right to approve/disapprove of prospective purchasers, in accordance with anti-discrimination laws, since all owners are financially vulnerable if other owners default. The by-laws may also limit a shareholder's ability to rent their unit because higher rental ratios can affect the tax status of the entire property (this can result in higher owner occupancy rates than condos). Unit owners pay monthly fees that cover maintenance and management costs, as well as the corporation's property taxes and the underlying mortgage on the building (the portion of the monthly fee that represents the property taxes and underlying mortgage interest is tax deductible for the unit owner). Even though co-ops are considered personal property, for income tax purposes, the IRS allows co-op owners to also deduct the interest on a co-op purchase loan. Values per square foot for co-ops are generally less than for condos and settlement costs are often lower. However, the purchase of a co-op often requires a higher down payment (as established by the co-op's by-laws or the lender) and the pool of potential lenders for a co-op loan may be smaller than for a condominium mortgage. 

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