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CBS New York's 'Living Large' Features Bronxville Hillside Tudor House PDF Print Email


By Megan Montemarano, Content and Social Media Specialist, William Pitt • Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty

May 3, 2017:  Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty announced that 29 Prescott Avenue, a hillside Tudor in Bronxville, was featured on CBS New York's Living Large.

The segment followed listing agent Kathleen Collins of the firm's Bronxville brokerage and reporter Emily Smith on a tour throughout the home, which is currently on the market for $5,300,000.

Located in Bronxville's historic Lawrence Park Hilltop enclave, 29 Prescott Avenue enjoys commanding views as far as the Manhattan skyline. Its gracious interior boasts unusually light-filled rooms with elegant entertaining and living space.

The residence's exterior evokes a European villa style, complete with multi-tiered stone terraces, in addition to a pool, spa, and cabana, surrounded by flowering perennials, lush shrubbery, and a cascading waterfall. Highlights include restored original features, a spacious kitchen, and a sitting room with glass-fronted wine storage for 1,200 bottles.

A state-of-the-art Crestron system controls whole house audio, lighting, security, and temperature from multiple panels, as well as mobile devices. 

Living Large airs on CBS2's evening news at 5:00 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays and is rerun during the Sunday 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm local news.

Pictured here:  The home at 29 Prescott Avenue featured on the CBS show Living Large.

Photo courtesy Kathleen Collins

Editor's note Real estate agent Kathleen Collins can be reached at 914-715-6052 or CLOAKING .

VillaBXV on Kensington Road to Close on First Residential Condo Units in Late Summer PDF Print Email


By Carol P. Bartold, Senior Reporter     

Apr. 5, 2017: VillaBXV, the residential condominium project on Kensington Road, at least ten years in the making, is proceeding steadily toward completion. Closing of the contracts of purchase of the first completed units so that people can move in is expected during late summer and early fall of 2017.

Elise Platt of VillaBXV Preview Sales estimates that between 65 and 70 percent of the available 54 units have been sold to date.

The project's north building is completely enclosed and roofed. Crews have begun to install interior drywall and decorative exterior ironwork. Some of the construction scaffolding on the outside of the north building is being removed.

Complete enclosure of the south building is proceeding.

Two four-story Mission-style condominium structures housing the project's one-, two-, and three-bedroom units sit atop a 309-space, two-level parking garage.

Condominium homes are designed with open floor plans and range in size from 1,300 square feet to over 2,000 square feet. Penthouse units will feature rooftop terraces, and garden units will have patios.

Amenities will include a front desk with a 24-hour concierge; a fitness center; a courtyard with a fireplace, a bar, couches, and a large-screen television; and a club room with a piano.

One hundred twenty parking spaces in the garage will be dedicated to VillaBXV residents. The remaining spaces will be available to merchants and the public.

The VillaBXV parcel on Kensington Road, left empty when Lawrence Park Heat, Light and Power and a gas station were removed, served as a village parking facility for many years.

To prepare the site for construction, the developer, Gateway Development Group, Inc., removed 20,000 cubic yards of soil contaminated by the operation of the power company and the gas station.

Gateway received approval from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to remove contaminated soil and rock from the construction site under the Brownfield Cleanup Program. The program provides tax incentives to make feasible the cleanup and redevelopment of highly compromised real property.

The developer removed an additional 10,000 cubic yards of uncontaminated soil, as well as 10,000 cubic yards of rock, to enable excavation for the parking garage.

Pictured here:  VillaBXV on Kensington Road under construction. 

Photo by A. Warner

Bronxville Board of Ed Increases Property Tax Levy to Fund $47.1 Million School Budget PDF Print Email


By Carol P. Bartold, Senior Reporter

Mar. 29, 2017:  Bronxville property owners will be asked to approve an increase of approximately $640,000 in the annual property tax levy, from approximately $40.9 million to just over $41.5 million, to fund the 2017-2018 Bronxville School budget.

The $47.1 million budget, adopted by the Bronxville Board of Education at its March 16 meeting, represents a 1.17 percent increase over the current academic year’s budget of approximately $46.6 and represents a 1.57 percent tax levy increase. The budget is only $12,140 below the allowable state permitted tax increase cap of 1.6 percent.

New York State’s property tax cap limits the amount by which school districts can increase the tax levy to the lower of 2 percent and the rate of inflation.

“A lot of the drama in this process has been taken away by the tax cap,” said Dan Carlin, assistant superintendent for business. “The board knew where we had to come in with this budget.”


Carlin went on to explain that the increase in the tax levy needed to fund the 2017-2018 budget was driven by cost increases of around $1.3 million, with salaries, private school transportation costs, and health insurance premiums making up the bulk of those anticipated higher expenditures.

Reduced required pension contributions, Carlin said, will help to offset those increased costs. Retirement incentive costs, incurred for the current budget, will not be paid during 2017-2018.

The board decided to allocate $500,000 from the expected 2016-2017 surplus to reduce the property tax levy increase in 2017-2018. Board president Jeffrey Rohr commented that without the offset, property owners could expect to see a 2.8 percent increase in the tax levy instead of the proposed 1.57 percent.

“The board has done a good job in decreasing that offset over the past three years,” Rohr stated. He pointed out that, when first faced with the 2 percent tax cap, the district used $1.05 million of reserves to decrease the tax levy. For 2016-2017, $580,000 was used.

The district expects to receive approximately $5.1 million in revenues from sources other than property tax, including about $2.4 million in New York State Education Department State Aid, $1.425 million in tuition, $450,000 in reimbursements for health services the district is required to provide to village private schools, and $350,000 in county property taxes on properties that border on the village.

The annual budget vote and board election will be held on Tuesday, May 16, in the Blue Gym at The Bronxville School.

The Bronxville Board of Education will meet on Tuesday, April 18, in the school's multipurpose room.

Pictured here:  The façade of The Bronxville School (top) and Dan Carlin, assistant superintendent for business. 

Photos by A. Warner

Priscilla Toomey: Evaluating a Real Estate Offer PDF Print Email


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

Mar. 29, 2017:  These days, many homes being offered for sale on the market are receiving multiple offers. For a seller, evaluating them in comparison with one another is crucial. For a buyer, structuring an offer to best advantage versus the competition is equally crucial. But how do sellers and buyers accomplish that?

The essential elements of an offer are price and terms. Price is, of course, a number, but it needs to be evaluated in light of the terms to figure out what the buyer is actually paying and what the seller will walk away with at the closing table.

Terms consist of contingencies: an inspection, typically done before contract signing in this area, a mortgage commitment if the buyer plans on getting a mortgage, and a proposed closing date. The amount of equity versus mortgage is usually also part of the offer.

Some buyers, if they have expertise in property condition (builders, for example), might waive the inspection contingency. However, it is prudent for virtually every buyer to have a thorough engineering inspection to have a handle on what they are buying.

With respect to mortgages, some buyers say they'll pay "all cash." As we have discussed in previous articles, "cash is king," and the more cash, the easier it is for the property to appraise out at its contract price or, if the offer is for all cash, the faster the contract will become non-contingent and thus the sooner the seller will feel comfortable committing to the purchase of another property.

But keep in mind that while "all cash" may actually mean just that, it often means that the buyer is, instead, taking the risk of getting a mortgage commitment and of the property appraising out and not making the offer contingent on those factors. So, in reality, there may be an appraisal and a mortgage involved and these may affect the timing. It's important to ask.

Another term is the proposed closing date. Often in an offer, it's stated to be at the preference of one party or the other. It is unwise to agree to a closing too far in the future (more than 90 days from the date the contracts are signed by both parties, for example). That's because things can happen over time to change people's circumstances and sometimes those changes can put the transaction in jeopardy.

As you can see, there are many details to consider when reviewing an offer--but attention to detail is key and will lead to the success of your transaction.

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

Bronxville's Virginia Doetsch Named 2016 Manager of the Year PDF Print Email


By Andrew Wood, Director of PR, William Pitt and Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty

Mar. 22, 2017:  Virginia Doetsch, manager of William Pitt and Julia B. Fee Sotheby's offices in Bronxville and Irvington, has been named the company's 2016 Manager of the Year.

Doetsch was chosen from among 16 brokerage managers for the honor, winning the award for the second time in the past three years.

"Virginia continuously proves what a tremendous asset she is to our firm with her outstanding support and leadership," said Paul Breunich, president and chief executive officer of William Pitt and Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty. "Her achievements are substantial, including her skill for drawing and retaining top talent as well as her impressive track record of realizing notable increases in annual sales volume. She was also instrumental in expanding our presence in Westchester County's key Rivertowns market area during 2015 and 2016. I am proud to recognize Virginia as our Manager of the Year."

Doetsch, who has been in the real estate industry for over 25 years, has led the company's Bronxville brokerage office since 2011. Over the course of her first five years in the position, she grew the brokerage's sales force from a small team of nine agents to 41 while increasing the office's annual sales volume by a dramatic 800%. 

Additionally, in the summer of 2015, Doetsch played an important role in establishing the company's first brokerage based in Westchester County's Rivertowns market and continues to drive the firm's growth there. Located in the region's hub town of Irvington, the brokerage achieved significant dollar volume in its first full year of 2016. She now leads a group of 15 agents in Irvington, after starting virtually from scratch prior to launching the new brokerage in 2015.

"I attribute so much of the success of my offices to all of my fantastic full-time agents, who bring deep knowledge of current real estate conditions coupled with sensitivity to changing global markets," said Doetsch. "I have high expectations for my agents and strive to build teams comprised of sales professionals who focus on what is best for their clients over their own interests. As a result, we are building relationships that we know will last for generations."

Pictured here:  Virginia Doetsch.

Photo courtesy of William Pitt and Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty

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