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Third-Grade Bronxville School Classmates from 1970 Come Together to Buy, Renovate, and Sell Homes PDF Print Email

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By John Knox and Mariellen Sullivan Carpenter, Carpenter-Knox Homes


Nov. 29, 2017:  It was 1970 in Mrs. Beasley’s Bronxville Elementary School third-grade class where Mariellen Sullivan Carpenter met John Knox, and they have remained friends ever since. Over the years, they continued to cross paths, and their lives and families intersected before everybody found their way back to Bronxville, Mariellen working in marketing and John as a bond trader. Last year they combined all of their years of Bronxville knowledge and history together and forged a new business together, Carpenter-Knox Homes, located right here in the village.

Mariellen recently completed her master’s degree in real estate from Georgetown to complement her real estate license. She worked in the competitive real estate market in New York City for several years before transitioning to the Bronxville Houlihan Lawrence office this spring.

John always had a passion for home renovation and had begun a new business as a consultant and homeowners' representative for major renovations. 

They had discussed their complementary skills many times and knew there was a business opportunity if they joined forces. They began their new venture by investigating foreclosed homes, and after months of research, extensive market evaluations, courthouse auctions, and property visits, they decided to purchase two homes in the Bronxville area that appeared to be good investments. 

Together, they found and interviewed their redevelopment team, which includes, among others, architects, engineers, plumbers, electricians, framers, and painters, oversaw the house renovations, and successfully listed both properties for sale in less than a year. Together, they researched all of the materials and found the best sources for all of their needs across the tristate area. The end result was great value without compromising quality. “While each project had its own set of challenges and required creativity, it was always rewarding to see it come together,” said Knox. 

Both houses were sold in September to happy buyers, so the search continues for more properties. “We learned a great deal and have a tremendous amount of love and respect for each other still,” said Carpenter.

Both agreed that real estate and renovation are complicated and it is important to work with someone whom you know and trust. The process of buying, renovating, and selling properties with their own funds enhances Mariellen's skills for her real estate clients and John’s for his consulting business. Mrs. Beasley would be so proud of her two third-grade students! 

On to the next house.

Pictured here:  John Knox and Mariellen Sullivan Carpenter.

Photo by Ferdinand Martignetti

 
First Residents Move into Villa BXV Condominium Community PDF Print Email

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By Carol P. Bartold, Senior Reporter


Nov. 22, 2017: Ten years of perseverance despite delays, setbacks, and a change in developer have brought Villa BXV, the 54-unit condominium residence on Kensington Road, to reality. The first residents have begun to move into units in the community’s north building, while the final stages of construction proceed on the south building.

Developers Fareri and Associates of Greenwich, Connecticut, have built two four-story Mission-style condominium structures and a lobby building atop a 309-space, two-level parking garage. The center of the one-and-a-half story lobby between the two residential buildings lines up directly with the Christ Church spire. Although bound by the original approved design for the development, Fareri added a few new design features, such as a large window on the west side of the lobby.

“John Fareri is a visionary,” said Elise Platt, Villa BXV sales manager. “He sees things other developers don’t and he takes full advantage of the space available.”

One-, two-, and three-bedroom residence units, designed with open floor plans, range in size from 1,300 square feet to over 2,000 square feet and feature 9-foot ceilings and 8-foot-high windows.


 

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Kitchen area of one of the units.


High-quality finishes, and lighting fixtures, along with Wolf appliances, are standard in all units. All ground floor residences have patios and some on the upper floors have balconies. Triple-glazed windows have been installed in units on the west side of the buildings to attenuate noise from Metro-North Railroad trains on tracks adjacent to the buildings.

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Elise Platt (R), Villa BXV sales manager, with Marcia Lee, managing editor of MyhometownBronxville, in one of the units.


Common areas and amenities complement Villa BXV’s residential units. A 24-hour concierge is on duty in the lobby to welcome guests, provide security, and receive packages for residents. A large first-floor club room offers residents gathering, relaxation, and recreational space. The club room is appointed with sofas, a fireplace, and a large-screen television, as well as card tables and a baby grand player piano. A walk-in bar and catering kitchen provide facilities to host parties and receptions.

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The courtyard showing seating areas.


The club room opens to a grand courtyard with a pavilion featuring seating areas and fire tables, barbecues, and a large-screen television.

The fitness center will be available to residents when the south building is complete.

The buildings are fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Barhite & Holzinger of Bronxville serves as onsite manager.

According to Elise Platt, one of every type of unit is still available.

Pictured at top:  One of the Villa BXV units with an open-floor living room and private terrace.

Photos by N. Bower



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Priscilla Toomey: Avoiding Dangerous Assumptions in Real Estate: Part III PDF Print Email

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


Nov. 15, 2017:  This third article in the series explores dangerous assumptions you should avoid after you have received an offer.  

Dangerous Assumption #1:  Don’t assume that once you receive an offer at an acceptable price, you’re home free. An offer must also disclose the buyer’s terms: contingencies such as an inspection and a mortgage commitment, percent of cash to mortgage, a proposed closing date, and anything else you and the buyers need to agree on, and a copy of their pre-approval or proof of funds should be attached. The point is that you need to have reasonable certainty that the buyer is capable of closing the sale before you accept the offer.  

Dangerous Assumption #2:  If you are buying, don’t assume you can make your purchase contingent on the sale of your current property. Sellers in this area almost never accept that term. Figure out if you can go ahead with the purchase anyway or whether you are so sure of your financing that you can proceed regardless. 

Dangerous Assumption #3:  Don’t assume that accepting an offer but agreeing to continue to show your home won’t discourage prospective buyers from seeing it. It will have a “chilling effect,” although some buyers will come anyway.

Dangerous Assumption #4:  Don’t assume that once you have agreed on price and terms the parties are committed to the transaction. Not until there is a contract of sale signed by both buyer and seller and the buyers have submitted their deposit money (typically, 10% in this area) that your handshake is binding. Until that point, either party can change its mind without consequence.   

Dangerous Assumption #5:  Don’t assume that once you or your buyer is pre-approved either of you can change jobs. If you read the fine print in a pre-approval it will tell you that it is contingent on the status quo remaining in place. A job change during this period could jeopardize that.   

Dangerous Assumption #6:  Don’t assume that a pre-approval means you, as a buyer, are good to go ahead with the purchase. The pre-approval means that you are pre-approved. The other part of the process is that the house has to be vetted also, and this is done through the appraisal process, which is designed to protect your lender. So both you and the house need to pass muster in order for the bank to agree to make the loan, which it does by way of the mortgage commitment.   

Dangerous Assumption #7:  Don’t assume that everything will move forward as planned. Make yourself a timetable and monitor all parties to make sure they are sticking to it. It’s your money and your future at stake and you have every right to be involved and stay on top of everyone involved in your transaction. And be aware that in this area, either party can usually postpone the closing of the sale for up to 30 days without penalty, so remain flexible, make a contingency plan if there is such a delay, and stay focused on how happy you will be once the transaction closes!    

Pictured here:  Priscilla Toomey, licensed associate real estate broker, JD, ABR, Top5, certified EcoBroker, SRES with Julia B. Fee/Sotheby's International Realty, 2 Park Place, Bronxville, NY 10708; cell, 914-559-8084; email, CLOAKING .   

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

 
Priscilla Toomey: Avoiding Dangerous Assumptions in Real Estate: Part II PDF Print Email

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


Oct. 25, 2017:  In this article, we'll explore some dangerous assumptions that real estate sellers and buyers often make – to their detriment – and how to avoid them. The assumptions below are most helpful to avoid at the time you think you are ready to put your house on the market:

Dangerous Assumption #1:  Don't assume that your home's condition will pass the buyer's inspection. Check the homeowner property disclosure statement for a list of conditions to review beforehand to make sure they are all in good working order. For example, if you have an underground oil tank, don't assume it has no leaks and don't assume a buyer will be OK with leaving it there.

Dangerous Assumption #2:  Don't assume that any work you had done that requires a permit will be accepted by a buyer if you don't have a permit for it that has been closed out. Even all-cash buyers think about what they will need to do when they eventually re-sell.

Dangerous Assumption #3:  Don't assume that there isn't anything left a stager won't suggest to make your sale easier. A stager's job is to see your house through the eyes of a buyer and make it as appealing as possible, which can make a big difference in how competitive your house is versus its competition on the market.

Dangerous Assumption #4:  Don't assume that if you decide on a high price, buyers will make offers or even come see your house. Most buyers shop by price category, say up to $XXX amount, so they don't often see higher-priced houses because they don't want to "insult" the seller. If you are a buyer, you should understand that ultimately the buyer controls the price, so start a negotiation – it's just a conversation with numbers. And study comparable recent sales so your price is as accurate as possible and so your home doesn't languish.

Dangerous Assumption #5:  Don't assume that your buyer is qualified. To make sure a buyer is qualified, the buyer's agent needs to ask of the buyer some hard questions: Are you pre-approved? Do you have at least 20% cash (or more if we're talking about a co-op and it requires more than 20%)? Do you have anything to sell or a lease that you are reluctant to break? When do you need to close?

And one additional suggestion:  Don't assume that all real estate agents are the same. Choose one with care who will provide you with sound counsel and regular feedback, and pay attention to what the feedback tells you. Once your house is on the market, it is a commodity – leave it every morning as if you have a showing. This is tiring, true, but you won't miss a showing and you will always present your house with its best foot forward.

Pictured here:  Priscilla Toomey, licensed associate real estate broker, JD, ABR, Top5, certified EcoBroker, SRES with Julia B. Fee/Sotheby's International Realty, 2 Park Place, Bronxville, NY 10708; cell, 914-559-8084; email, CLOAKING .

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

 
Marriott in Tuckahoe to Proceed with Construction; Concerns about Contamination Linger for Bronxville Residents PDF Print Email

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By Carol P. Bartold, Senior Reporter


Oct. 18, 2017:  As construction proceeds on the Marriott Springhill Suites hotel in Tuckahoe, questions remain for Bronxville residents about how the migration of soil and groundwater contamination on the site could affect the village. The hotel, at 109-125 Marbledale Road, will sit atop the former Tuckahoe marble quarry, which ceased operations in 1930. Beginning in the 1950s, the pit was used as a commercial landfill and dump.

The $31 million, 91,000-square-foot hotel will contain 163 rooms, include a 6,400 square-foot restaurant, and provide 208 parking spaces. Remedial excavation and testing of the site was completed in early spring of 2017 and drilling work for the two hundred pilings, which will support the hotel building, is complete.

David Burke, Tuckahoe village administrator, reported that the full building permit, along with electrical and plumbing permits, were issued the week of October 9. Framing the hotel building will most likely begin when concrete work is completed. Burke projects a fall 2018 opening for the hotel.

To educate and inform the community about ongoing concerns arising from the contaminated site in Tuckahoe, the organization Greater Bronxville Indivisible sponsored a presentation by Donald J. Hughes, PhD, on October 14 at the Bronxville Public Library. An educator, chemist, environmental engineer, and principal of Hughes Environmental Consulting Services in Syracuse, New York, Hughes has thoroughly assessed the known environmental hazards of the former quarry site and offered extensive public testimony on its known contaminants and risks.

Known contaminants at the location, per Hughes, include ash and other burned debris from the Eastchester municipal incinerator, Freon from Revlon, and pharmaceuticals and manufacturing byproducts from Burroughs-Wellcome. He also stated that the Village of Bronxville dumped waste at the site.

Although remedial cleanup work on the site is complete, Hughes emphasized that the very general term "cleanup" does not necessarily mean that the site has been cleaned up. "Remedial cleanup means anything that is done to help fix the site," he said. "It doesn't necessarily mean addressing the contamination." He added that fencing off a site and telling people to stay away is considered remedial cleanup.

"Although the quarry was largely ignored for more than fifty years, there are some very dangerous contaminants there," Hughes said.

He reported that very high levels of soil vapors, particularly from perchloroethylene (PCE), a chlorinated solvent, and trichloroethylene (TCE), a solvent used to degrease metal parts and in the manufacture of other chemicals, were found in the former quarry area. These volatile organic compounds vaporize quickly into the air, he said.

PCE and TCE, as well as metals, hydrocarbons, and vinyl chloride, have contaminated two aquifers, a shallow one and one at bedrock level, in the quarry area, Hughes noted. He explained that contaminated groundwater can get into sewer lines and that the substances have possibly been moving very rapidly with the groundwater since the 1950s.

Bronxville resident Betsy Harding pointed out that that the groundwater flow from Marbledale Road proceeds in a general southwesterly direction through the Midland Valley and through Bronxville to the Bronx River. "The only testing I know of is the very limited testing."

Next steps recommended for Bronxville are to identify sources and levels of vapor and water contamination and determine if sewers and underground utilities serve as conduits for volatile organic compounds.

Photo by A. Warner

 
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