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Renovating a Bronxville Tudor: Part 3 -- Updating the Upstairs Bathrooms PDF Print Email

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Editor's note:  This is the third article in a three-part series about a home renovation in Bronxville.  The first article focused on the Open Concept.  The second article focused on Functional Living.  This article will focus on Updating the Upstairs Bathrooms

By Tisha Leung, Sweeten.com

Oct. 9, 2019:  Sara and Mike moved to Westchester so their family of three (now four) could enjoy more space, indoor and out. They found a lovely Tudor home in Bronxville, but it needed a renovation.  

They started by creating an open plan, along with a pantry, mudroom, and powder room, on the first floor, which gave the home a modern refresh. Click on these links to read Part 1 and Part 2 of Sara and Mike’s renovation. They then moved on to the second-floor bathrooms.

The master bathroom received a facelift, including a large walk-in shower, high-end fixtures and tile, and a large niche for holding toiletries. They opted for a sliding barn door to allow room for a double sink, which has been a lifesaver for many a marriage.

The kids’ bathroom has a more rustic look, with oil-rubbed bronze hardware and a copper sink. A low wall between the tub and the toilet provided the perfect space for a built-in toilet paper shelf, while the crawl space behind the bathroom was made accessible for more storage.

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Kids' bathroom before renovation

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Kids' bathroom after renovation

Now that they’ve been through the process, Sara and Mike recommend that renovators focus on the long term. “It is so easy to get caught up in permits and deliveries being delayed, little problems here and there, budget inflations, or finding out your chimney has collapsed right as you were paying the final bills, but in the end, it all came together,” Sara says. “We are absolutely in love with our final space. We are so excited that we get to live here!” 

Updating older homes is an everyday occurrence in the U.S.-- 40% of the 137 million homes in the U.S. are 50 years or older, according to the National Association of Homebuilders. 

Below are tips when renovating an old house:

  1. Focus first on the larger aspects of the home, such as structural integrity. 
  2. Prioritize your budget and scope, keeping in mind what will elevate your everyday life and give you the best return on your remodeling spend.
  3. If your budget is tight, seal your roof or your unfinished attic. 
  4. Invest in a good electrical system to handle all modern appliances.

Sweeten is a free service that matches homeowners with vetted general contractors, monitoring the renovation until completion.

Photos courtesy Sweeten.com


Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.

 

 


 

 


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Luxury Real Estate Sales Post Gains or Remain Level in Several Markets North of New York City PDF Print Email

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Contributed by Dean Bender, Thompson & Bender for Houlihan Lawrence

Oct. 9, 2019:  Third quarter luxury sales posted gains or were level with last year in several markets north of NYC, including Westchester County (sales $2M and higher); Greenwich (sales $3M and higher); Darien (sales $2M and higher); and Putnam and Dutchess (sales $1M and higher). This encouraging news marks a reversal of declining homes sales the past several quarters in these areas. The third quarter results were announced today by Houlihan Lawrence.

Luxury sales increased because prices have fallen and buyers are transacting on compelling value propositions. Lower interest rates are not a causal factor but contribute to moving buyers off the sidelines and into the market.

In Westchester, the $3M to $4.99M price range accounted for most of the gains in third quarter sales. Nearly all closed properties in this price range were reduced from their original price – some had up to five reductions - and sold nearly 30% to 50% less than the original list price. Sales over $5M followed a similar pattern of coming on the market unrealistically high, and ultimately selling substantially below the original price.

Sellers have often (in hindsight) over-invested in their homes. If they purchased in the peak years or made costly improvements to their home - coupled with declining values in the recent past - they may take a loss when they sell. They have accepted that buyers’ assessment of value is not equal to their total investment. The financial loss is offset by the intangible gain of being able to move forward with future plans.

Darien is the strongest performer this quarter and the only market to show a gain in luxury sales year-to-date. The lower end of the market ($2 to $2.99M) is up by 25% year-to-date. As the market picks up in Darien, neighboring New Canaan is not recovering as quickly.

“Inventory levels remain high. When sales slowed down the past several quarters, new listings came to market at a steady pace and inventory accumulated. The imbalance of supply and demand continues to put pressure on pricing. Pending sales north of NYC are holding steady compared to the same period last year – a positive indicator that sellers are listening to the market and pricing realistically,” said Anthony Cutugno, Senior Vice President, Director of Private Brokerage.


Photo courtesy of Houlihan Lawrence


Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.

 
Priscilla Toomey on Real Estate: Housing Stability Act of 2019 Includes New Provisions For Renting Single Family Homes PDF Print Email

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By Priscilla Toomey, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Julia B. Fee/Sotheby's International Realty

Sep. 4, 2019:  If their home is on the market but isn’t selling, people often think of renting it out as a viable option. Of course, no matter how careful they are in choosing a tenant, it’s partly luck whether the tenant turns out to be responsible and treats the property as if it were their own or turns out to be an unexpected nightmare who doesn’t pay rent on time and who treats the property poorly, no matter how good they looked on paper.

But on June 14 of this year a seismic shift occurred in favor of tenants – something all landlords and prospective landlords need to be aware of, including those renting out a single-family home.  It's called the Housing Stability Act of 2019 and among its provisions are:

1. Landlords cannot charge application fees and can only charge $20 or the actual cost, whichever is less,  for a credit or background check.

2. Landlord’s cannot charge more than a one-month security deposit and cannot charge a pet deposit. 

3. Once a tenant moves out, the landlord has 14 days to return the security deposit and must give an itemized list, with explanations, for every item deducted from that security deposit.

4. Late fees cannot exceed $50 or 5% of the monthly rent, whichever is less, and late fees cannot be charged if rent is paid 5 days or less after the due date.

5. The eviction process has become much longer and more difficult for landlords and can now easily take a year.

These are just some of the highlights of the new law. So, if you’re a landlord or considering renting out your home because it isn’t selling – or for any other reason – you should check with a lawyer who is proficient in landlord/tenant matters first to find out exactly what you can and cannot do under the new law and whether or not you are prepared to live with it.

Pictured here:  Priscilla Toomey, cell, 914-559-8084; email,  CLOAKING .

Photo courtesy Julia B. Fee/Sotheby's International Realty

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff


 
Renovating a Bronxville Tudor: Part 2 -- Functional Living PDF Print Email

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Editor's note:  This is the second article in a three-part series about a home renovation in Bronxville.  The first article was focused on the Open Concept.  This article will focus on Functional Living.  The third article will focus on Updating the Upstairs.

By Tisha Leung, Sweeten.com

Sep. 4, 2019:  With this article, we continue with Sara and Mike’s renovation story of their 2,500-square-foot 1930s Bronxville Tudor house.  Sara and Mike wanted more functional space including a pantry, mudroom, and powder room.  They did this by reconfiguring the interior of the home.  They built a mudroom with storage, downsized a full bathroom into a powder room, and created a pantry tailor-made for baking. 

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Home during renovation

Butler's Pantry

A butler’s pantry—set up as a baking station—fulfilled one of the main bucket list items for Sara and Mike. They installed lower-than-typical counters, custom made by their contractor, topped with butcher block for an optimal height on which to do baking prep. They added a cabinet with a pop-up interior shelf that raised a mixer to counter height when needed. And a bonus for the kids: a designated lower cabinet with pull-out shelves so that the kids could help themselves to snacks. 

Sara’s mantra for the renovation: “A place for everything and everything in its place. I wanted to be able to ‘hide’ all the mess when company came over, but without sacrificing the daily utility of the rooms.”

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New baking kitchen

Mudroom

The narrow mudroom by the back door was also tailored to the needs of the growing family. Outfitted fully in custom millwork to blend with the kitchen, the space features a low bench so you can sit down to take your shoes off, and four storage cubbies beneath the bench that offer space for each member of the family (including the newest one!). A closet hides messy bags, various gear, and coats, while the built-in desk offers a place underneath for pet bowls.

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New mudroom

Powder Room

By reimagining the layout, Sara and Mike's contractors converted the full bath to a powder room, now located off the mudroom and the back door entrance. The lower walls are clad in beadboard, with a bird-themed wallpaper above. Sara has had a love for birds instilled since childhood from her father and grandfather. Their favorite birds make an appearance in the home.

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New powder room

Stay tuned for Sara and Mike’s upstairs bathrooms, the last of the renovation series.

Sweeten is a free service that matches homeowners with vetted general contractors, monitoring the renovation until completion.

Photos courtesy Sweeten.com

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.

 

 


 
Real Estate in Bronxville: A Great Time to Trade Up PDF Print Email

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By Cindy G. Landis, Brokerage Manager, Bronxville Office of Houlihan Lawrence

Jul. 10, 2019:  The first half of 2019 has proven that there is buyer demand for well-priced homes in Bronxville, but the activity has shifted toward lower price points.

After ending 2018 with a scant 39 single-family home sales, tying 2011 for lowest number of sold homes since the financial crisis, 2019 is seeing a rebound from those numbers. At the mid-year point, 15 homes are in contract and 27 have closed, so 2019 will surpass 2018’s disappointing record. Currently, Bronxville is 42% ahead of the number of closed single-family homes versus 2018’s mid-year point.

Where are the numbers shaking out? In the past, the traditional “sweet spot” in the village has been the $2 to $3 million range, but this year, 48% of closed deals are below $2,000,000. Forty-one percent are in the $2,000,000-$2,999,999 range, and there are three closed deals above $3,000,000 representing 11% of the homes sold. The highest deal to close this year is $4,650,000. From a price-per-square-foot measure, we ended 2018 at $649 psf, down 3% from 2017, and we are now at $586 psf, an additional decline of 9.7% this year. Year over year, the median sale price is 14.9% lower, although on the bright side, the median is $2,150,000, up 2% from the end of last year.

The weak spots both in Bronxville and across other affluent lower Westchester towns are the price ranges above $3,000,000. Although a few sellers have taken listings "off the market for the summer," the market is top-heavy. Eighteen of the 45 active listings, 40%, are priced at or above $3,000,000, and there are 7 homes above $5,000,000. Those 7 homes represent slightly more than 4 years of inventory at the rate of 1.6 sales each year over the past 5-year period. In the luxury markets across Westchester (homes priced above $2,000,000), this is the third consecutive quarter of sales declines. Tax reform has made homeownership more costly. The potential silver lining is that with high demand for lower-priced homes, a long supply of higher-end houses, and historically low mortgage rates, it is a great time to trade up in the village.

The townhouse market, continuing its 2018 strength, has 7 closed deals year-to-date vs. 5 for the same period last year, a 40% increase. There are also 4 deals in contract now, projecting at least 11 closings this year, a number that would exceed all of 2018’s 9 sales. Year over year, the median sale price is down 14.3% but remains high at $1,200,000. At $618 price per square foot, townhouse pricing exceeds that of single-family homes despite dropping 7.4% since the start of this year.

The local co-op market is performing somewhat less vigorously. Inventory levels are similar to last year's, but fewer co-ops have sold this year, 17 versus 22, year to date. There is also slightly more inventory in the over $1,000,000 end of the co-op market.

One of the casualties of having a more robust market in the village (at the lower end) is that the sales in the Bronxville PO/Yonkers market have slowed. Year to date, unit sales are off by 22.7% (17 versus 22), but of greater concern is that pending sales (homes in contract) are off by 50%, potentially anticipating a softening of prices. There are 21 homes for sale above $1,000,000, yet only 2 are in contract. It may be likely that the lower pricing in the village is putting pressure on the PO market.

There is still a substantial amount of the proverbial wood to chop in the village. For sellers who think, "I’d rather wait this out," the relevant question is what will be a catalyst for a return to “pre-tax reform” prices … and when will that occur? The soft NYC market, the large amount of unsold luxury inventory from lower Westchester to Greenwich, demographic imbalances, and the upcoming 2020 election make this a good time to consider one’s future plans and get ahead of the curve.

Pictured:  Cindy G. Landis, brokerage manager, Bronxville office of Houlihan Lawrence.

Photo courtesy Cindy G. Landis

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.

 
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