Croton on Hudson, NY 10520 Market Update and Stat’s 3rd quarter 2011

Peekskill, NY 10566 Market Update and Stat’s 3rd quarter 2011

Montrose, NY 10548 Market Update and Stat’s 3rd quarter 2011

Cortlandt Manor, NY, 10567 Market Update & 3rd Quarter Stat’s 2011

The House Whisperer

Grand Street, Croton on Hudson

Grand Street, Croton on Hudson

Sometimes it only takes a few minutes.

Sometimes it’s a gut feeling from simply seeing photos.

Yet, when a buyer knows it’s the home for them, they start getting that fall in love, heart pounding, stomach a flurrie buzzy feeling, and of how this is the perfect home for them and even, momentarily, believing in that old cliché of American dream. It’s the truth; I am not getting carried away here. And, it’s a nice feeling buying into the American dream even if it’s just for a moment.

Though, occasionally, I’m the one with the intuitiveness, and can match people to homes.

Earlier this year I met a Brooklyn couple through friend’s, (who I have helped sell and buy their current home here in Croton, and yes, I had a gut feeling of their home,too!). Well, these Brooklynites were looking for an older charming home and seeking to look more south of Croton in the Irvington/Hastings area, and for their price range they could definitely get an older home there, yet with no property or sq footage, and no updates whatsoever. So, we looked and I listened, and heard them quietly question how can they ever leave Brooklyn? Let me share with you this particular couple have young twins, and also a son who is not school age yet; these people needed space to grow into, big time!

Yet, I had a feeling, whoaaaa, did I have a strong feeling I knew the perfect home for them here in Croton. And, no, I didn’t just walk up to the door of the home and say, “Want to sell? I have the perfect buyers for you!”, but it went something like that. The thing is I did it a few years back and got to know the home owners, their story of how they came here from Brooklyn in the late 60’s, looking for a home and space for their twins and slightly older child, and how they would ever survive in the suburbs?? Funny stuff, eh? On a side note, these particular people came to Croton because the husband’s friend lived here and suggested they look here; that person was the former owner of my current home.and, yes, and another lovely couple!

As we texted, emailed and talked with the Brooklyn clients, and heard their story it was obvious to me both buyer and seller’s stories had a shared story line, and I started to tell them about this home in Croton that I wanted them to see. It’s one of those homes in Croton that stands out in a stately manner on Grand Street, a lovely older home that feels like It’s a Wonderful Life, and has those positive vibes as soon as you enter.

Well, it was love at first sight for everyone. The initial tour of the home (“it’s so bright, it’s so spacious, look at the details, access to river and the village (!), and it has four bedrooms!”) and both couples meeting was pure kismet. The second meeting I couldn’t pry them as I listened to the parallels of both families and felt the spirit of kindred souls coming together.

It feels great bringing these two families together; it was much more than brokering, and it made me realize when you really know the motives, the needs and desires of your clients, it all just falls into place. And, another chapter begins for both couples…love it!

Peekskill Ramblings of Homes, Happenings and History

Rocking Chair Front Porch Colonial

Rocking Chair Front Porch Colonial

I just listed a charming home in the very cool city of Peekskill. My love for older homes, gastronomy and local history is sated here in Peekskill; put me down at the river at sunset, with a bottle of red, and I am quite satisfied.

As I was driving home last night from a new listing at 311 Depew Street, one of those charmed filled colonials Peekskill is known for, and hey, by the way, did you know Depew Street is named after Chauncey Depew a US Senator in the 1860’s? Well, it got me thinking about what is so great about living in the 10566 area code.

There are so many interesting aspects to Peekskill, and if I was just to mention the magnificent views and sunsets along the riverfront with the gentle mountains that not only change seasonally, but also through the course of the day, it would entice you to see for yourself the depth of history here that provokes you to seek out much more.

What is so cool is the resurrection of a city that got lost in the shuffle, and the loss of the industrial business that flourished and died, but now, again, has come to be a place to live, love and create. The art scene here has been going on for years now and if you have not been to a Open Studio weekend put together by the Peekskill Art Council and the City of Peekskill put that on your list of things to do!

Maybe I am being dramatic in using “resurrect” to describe the revitalization of Peekskill, because there has always been a scene here, that dates back to the 1600’s, with even some free lovin’ going on…say what ? Okay, Okay, let me back up a few hundred years or so, Peekskill dates back to the 1600’s and was a headquarter during the Revolutionary War, as well as an active underground Railroad station during the Civil War, that assisted refugees from slavery. Not too shabby, eh? An early American industrial center, and later big on manufacturing and mills, it was bustling in the later 1700’s. After several raids by the British, the army went a bit north to Westpoint.

You may know of Abraham Lincoln’s stop in Peekskill on his rail journey to his inauguration in 1861 which has been commemorated in a statue by Richard Masloski, also the
Lincoln Depot Museum is in the works to restore the former train station into the museum.

I recently wrote a post about Frank Baum author of The Wizard of Oz, Journey Down the Yellow Brick road in Peekskill, and his brief but inspirational residency here in Peekskill.

Yes, l digress but you needed a history lesson and it is my post, but I did mention something hedonistic and that’s what I assume you want, reading this far into my post.

In the 1850’s, Henry Ward Beecher started coming to Peekskill as a summer resident, and he eventually resided here. Beecher was quite prolific; an advocate for evolution, a popular preacher, and renowned clergyman known for being an abolitionist, a social reformer, and highly regarded by many. Also, brother to author of the anti-slave novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, check out this link, Beecher Family History, the Beecher Stowe’s were on top of their game!

In the 1870’s, Beecher was married with 10 children, when he got himself involved in a scandalous publicized trial for having an affair with a friend’s wife. Oy… A highly publicized trial in the 19th century, Wiki says, “The story created a national sensation.. The Plymouth Church held a board of inquiry and exonerated Beecher, but excommunicated Mr. Tilton in 1873.” Tilton being the husband of the woman Beecher had the affair with! It was pretty sensational for back then. And, btw, he is not the one named for the shopping center, that man, Moses S. Beach, was Beecher’s neighbor, and he was a publisher that initiated the Associated Press.

Point being, something has always been happening and many important people have lived, loved and created here.

When you are at a lost to do something, or want to go exploring in your backyard, do go check out the Peekskill Museum at the Herrick House, 124 Union Ave. for anything and everything with the history of Peekskill.

Something new to do is the Peekskill Tolley Tours, a great way to see Peekskill from homes to historical stops.</p?

My fav’s for you to check out:

12 Grapes where I will be guest bartender September 9th to raise funds for the 9-11remembrance.

Craft beer and farm-to-table cuisine Birdsall House

Peekskill Brewery a brewery and a diverse menu that is more than just pub food.

People come from all over for cakes atHomestyle Deserts Bakery

I have to mention the fine dining yet casual atmosphere of Zeph’s

Nellie’s Cafe

Resouled by Bess

Peekskill Coffee House

Bruised Apple Books

Brown Street Studios

Paramount Theatre

For you etymology enthusiasts, Jan Peek, also known as Jan Peake, was a Dutch mariner of the 17th century.The prefix ‘kil’ is borrowed from the Middle Dutch word ‘kille’ meaning riverbed or channel.

Leave a comment and share some of your favorite places in Peekskill.

Journey down The Yellow Brick Peekskill

Yellow Brick Road in Peekskill NY

Last Thursday at a Chamber meeting, I met a local woman, Deb Carlin, who is passionate about the book “The Wizard of Oz”; she spoke to us all about Frank Baum, the author, who lived in Peekskill for several years as a teenager in the 1860’s. This is all pretty recent news, and maps from that time period, backed up by historical facts, show there really was an actual yellow brick road, which currently is a parking lot in downtown Peekskill. From these findings, many believe Baum was inspired by the yellow brick road that became the backbone for the story.

I really love this stuff, but I had to go see for myself, and today I did. West Street comes up if you Google it, but there isn’t a sign; if you go down Hudson Ave. towards the river, make a right on S. Water Street, drive maybe 50 ft and look to your left. It is behind Dylan’s Wine Cellar
(another great find!), you cannot miss it the brick road, pale yellowed with age.

Awesome stuff, eh? Recently CBS did a piece on the many locals who would like to see a commemorative memorial to be home along the Peekskill Riverfront.

I did a little research and found out that John Curran, a Peekskill City Historian, wrote a piece about his findings which were published in The Wall Street Journal:

“In 2005, a Fulbright scholar and artist persuaded John Testa, who was the mayor of Peekskill at the time, to conduct an authenticity study on the road. Mr. Curran uncovered maps showing that West Street, which leads from the steamboat dock up a hill to the military academy, was indeed made of Dutch pavers, a common yellow-hued brick in the Dutch-settled area. The maps showed Mr. Baum had to have walked along the road to get to school, Mr. Curran said.”

Since then many people are coming together to make this project a reality. Plans have been made to create a yellow brick road along the riverfront with life-size sculptures of the book’s famous characters and to be sculpted by Richard Masloski; you can see his work at the Peekskill Lincoln Depot and Rip Van Winkle for the town of Irvington. Google him, very impressive.

The City of Peekskill is supportive but the funds are just not there, there is talk of a fundraiser where one can “buy a brick”, as I get more info I will be sure to share it with you. This could be another reason to come to the lower Hudson Valley; sculptures of everyone’s favorite film characters along the riverfront. And, Toto, too!

More and More Senior Homeowners are Putting it in Reverse

Sometimes you go to networking events and you don’t make a connection, and there are other times you hit the jackpot! I recently went to a WBC event at Pour
in Mount Kisco and found myself talking to a Reverse Mortgage Expert. You see, I know a lot more than the average person on residential mortgages, but Reverse Mortgages I really didn’t care to understand until I met Jennifer M. Jalil, a Reverse Mortgage Consultant with MetLife Home Loans. RM’s are a hot topic yet, so little understood, I had to ask Ms Jalil to guest blog and explain it fully to us not in the know. More and more Americans are finding themselves ill-prepared for retirement due to shrinking pension plans, and the difficulty in saving money, this ia another option. Please feel free to contact her for more info. Phone: (914) 462-8978, Email: Visit her website! The post says it all, take a read!

In today’s tough economy, maintaining financial security as an older adult can be a challenge. Issues of living longer, rising costs, fewer pension programs, and diminished investment values have put extraordinary pressures on people. Thankfully, the Reverse Mortgage is there to respond to these retirement realities. This is not the same old program: with reduced costs, Reverse Mortgages are more useful and more appealing to homeowners—regardless of their net worth. Many people are taking a Reverse Mortgage in their 60’s to bridge the gap so they may defer collecting Social Security until they reach the maximum benefit age of 70. Others are using a Reverse Mortgage to purchase a newer, more comfortable primary residence.

A Reverse Mortgage is a loan that allows homeowners age 62 or older to tap into the equity that’s been built up in their home. They will be able to receive cash for the things they need or want while still living in and owning their home. There are no monthly payments to make to the lender, but there are no prepayment penalties should someone wish to pay the loan off in full or in part at any time. The loan doesn’t become due until the last surviving borrower passes away, sells the house, or leaves it for more than 12 months. There are no income, credit, or health qualifications to obtain the loan. The homeowner may choose to receive the proceeds as a lump sum, monthly payments, and a line of credit, or a combination of these options.

A Reverse Mortgage is a retirement income and expense planning tool that can help seniors live better today and be more prepared for the future. The loan is there to help homeowners maintain their financial independence so they can focus on what’s most important in their lives. The loan is insured by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, adding a measure of safety and security and a guarantee that the homeowner or their estate will never be responsible to pay back more than the home is worth at the time of repayment.

Whether someone is seeking alternative means to meeting monthly expenses, or opportunities to live a fuller life, a Reverse Mortgage could be the answer.

9/11 Remembrance Memorial at Croton Landing- Save the Date

I am happy to share with you an update from a local group, the 9/11 Remembrance Memorial Foundation, and their going on’s. Several weeks ago I wrote a a post Memorial at Croton Landing with information regarding the work to raising funds for the planned memorial at Croton Landing.

This all volunteer group have currently put up a Facebook Page and a website, please go give them a LIKE atFacebook,
or check out their website and sign up for updates at 9-11remembrance.

Save the Date:

The group’s efforts include a wine tasting event at the newly restored Monteverde at Oldstone to get them closer to their monetary goals. I sure will be there supporting them! The date is set for Sunday, September 18, between 2pm and 5pm. If you have never been to this 1760 country estate, (it has a spa and accomodations for a weekend break or guests visiting the Hudson Valley), the views are awesome!

If you wish to donate a service or a gift certificate for the silent auction and raffle, please contact the Director: Janet Mainiero, 914-271-8222.

What is the right offer to put on a home?

I often hear the question, what should I offer? Or, what’s this house worth? In today’s market, recent comparable sold properties are essential in determining what an opening offer should be. If a home is priced reasonably from the beginning it won’t be on the market long; truth be said to you sellers, this is not the market to be testing at a unreasonable higher price point “just to see”, you simply do NOT want to play that card in this market.

So, how does a buyer determine an opening offer in today’s market? There are many variables when answering this question, the best way is to have your agent provide you recent Sold Comparables of “like” homes in the same location, same schools, and sq footage etc. Yes….(!) Location is significant, we are all bombarded by the media writing of double dip markets, and where the market is headed, yet, keep in mind they are talking on a national level, there are areas that are stabilizing, as well as re-emerging markets. KNOW your market. Use your realtor and get informed, they have the particulars on the location you wish to purchase in; your agent is a valuable resource, and will have current data.


  • See RECENT comparable sold properties, the idea is to see how the data stacks up against the home.
  • Why are they selling? You may not always get this answer, and seller agents do not have to disclose this info. MOTIVATION IS A FACTOR.
  • How long has the home been on the market? DOM (Days on Market) IS important to look at. Also, have they reduced the home?

If a home is reasonably priced, a reasonable offer will get your closer to a closing without getting anyone angry. If the selling price is unreasonable, back up your offer supported by data.

Low Ball Offers: There are buyers out there who are throwing out low ball offers just to see if something will stick, yet low ball offers anger and insult, use the comps to come up with an offer the seller will counter too.

Ok. What’s worse than a low ball offer?

For me, an unreasonably priced home, where the seller doesn’t want to budge or counter, and the offer was reasonable offer and backed up by actual facts of the current home market.

Reasonable offers typically don’t anger sellers. Your seller might accept a lower priced offer with the right terms for them.


How soon can you close? Is it a cash deal? No mortgage contingency? Your terms can make all the difference when negotiating.

There are many emotions during the sale of a house; if both buyer and seller cooperate and negotiate with the other’s interest and need in mind, it leads to a win-win situation. By going in with cut-throat, winner takes all manner, it only brings about adversity. The art of negotiation is the reaching of an agreement that is favorable to both parties, conversely, if you go in with a fixed mind set, you will likely be backed into a corner, and no one wants to be there. More and more deals fall apart these days, and not just in real estate, due to a lack of civility, it definitely takes two willing parties to make it happen.

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