Open House – 47 Harding Drive Saturday, July 28th 1-3 p.m.

There will be a public open house Saturday, July 28th from 1-3 p..m Look no further than this 3 bedroom, 1 bath 1510 square foot Colonial home with a truly deep backyard perfect for entertaining or growing your luscious, home grown vegetables! The owner’s great style is shown in her first floor design with the living room’s casual elegance, fireplace, dining room and large sun room with its easy access to the patio and yard. The sun room permeates warmth, has a skylight too, and is great in all seasons. The kitchen is spacious and charming also! There are three bedrooms on the second floor, a hall bathroom, and don’t forget the great space in the basement! There is a one car garage, great hardwood floors and a gas furnace which was installed in 2006, along with gutters, Andersen windows and a 40 year Timberline roof installed in 2001.

You are so close to shops, art galleries, fine dining and the vibrant down town. Did you know that New Rochelle’ Amtrak trains go to Boston & Washington, D.C. in addition to NYC which is just 35 minutes away?   This delightful home is being offered at $517,000!

Come and join me. You will LOVE this home!

New Rochelle is great!

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Public Open House 1-3 p.m. 15 Cortlandt Avenue New Rochelle

Public open today at a distinctive 5 bedroom, 4.5 bath 3941 square foot Tudor home in desirable Rochelle Heights. Located on 0.39 of an acre, this sunny and charming home offers great architectural detailing throughout. You will love the terrace, the sun room, the formal dining room, and large living room with its fireplace, and exquisite French doors. Warmth permeates the eat-in kitchen which was renovated in 2008 and has granite counters and a 6 burner Viking range. There is a rear stairway to the second floor in addition to the grand staircase. The master bedroom suite features a huge master marble bathroom, great closets, and an adjoining sitting room with a fireplace too. There are two other bedrooms with en suite baths on the second floor, 2 additional bedrooms on the third floor and a hall bath.  Don’t forget the newer windows! With the area clay tennis courts, and neighborhood activities such as seasonal dinners, the Turkey Trot race, and the flower sale, you will immediately feel welcomed! Just 30 minutes to New York City. Perfect!  The open house will be from 1-3 p.m.

Come and visit. You will love this home and New Rochelle!


New Rochelle is GREAT!

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What is Happening in the 2018 Real Estate Market ?

What is happening in the real estate market for 2018? Many sellers are lamenting that their respective homes have not sold, perhaps blaming their agents,  buyers are waiting to purchase and so I thought I would address potential reasons why and how the year has evolved thus far! 

One obvious reason is the new tax law. With home owners only able to deduct mortgage interest up to $750,000 and mortgage taxes of only $10,000, this limits buying power. As a rule, each $100,000 in a mortgage equals approximately approximately a $500 additional monthly expenditure but obviously that also depends upon credit scores, etc. SO, logically, if you cannot deduct X amount, then your monthly costs increase, and buying power is less.

However, we should also note that the Federal Reserve is expected to increase the mortgage rates twice more before years end, and so buyers should also realize  that with increased mortgage rates by next year, they will be affording less than this year.

So if the buyers are on the fence this year on whether to sell their home or buy a home at a higher housing price, but lower rate, or to wait until next year, possibly get a lower purchase price, but a higher rate:

One positive note is that the new tax laws while effective this year, will be realized next year and  many buyers will have lower taxes which might offset the mortgage  increases a tad.

1 Year Ago:

Loan Amount – $750,000 @ 3.5% (APR 3.510%), monthly payment = $3367

Loan Amount – $1,500,000 @ 3.5% (APR 3.510%), monthly payment = $6735

Loan Amount – $2,100,000 @ 3.5% (APR 3.510%), monthly payment = $9,429


Loan Amount – $750,000 @ 4.5% (APR 4.510%), monthly payment = $3800

Loan Amount – $1,500,000 @ 4.5% (APR 4.510%), monthly payment = $7600

Loan Amount – $2,100,000 @ 4.5% (APR 4.510%), monthly payment = $10,640

Possible 1 year from now:

Loan Amount – $750,000 @ 5.5% (APR 5.510%), monthly payment = $4258

Loan Amount – $1,500,000 @ 5.5% (APR 5.510%), monthly payment = $8516

Loan Amount – $2,100,000 @ 5.5% (APR 5.510%), monthly payment = $11,923

$675,000 purchase price ($540,000 Loan Amount)  @ 4.5% (APR 4.510%), payment = $2736 (buying the house now)

$625,000 purchase price ($500,000 Loan Amount)  @ 5.5% (APR 5.510%), payment = $2838 (buying the house at a lower purchase price, but higher rate)

(Many thanks to Veronica and  Dan for the possible mortgage scenarios given above). Veronica Finkel | Sr Home Lending Advisor CPC | NMLS ID 62262 | Home Lending | Chase | 608 Columbus Ave., Thornwood, NY 10594 | Office: 914-420-7875 | Cell: 914-420-7875 |

Fax: 877-891-5572| veronica.finkel@chase.com

Dan Amatuzzo | Home Lending Assistant | NMLS ID 599628 | Home Lending | Chase | 360 South Broadway | Tarrytown, NY 10591 | Office: 914-993-7981 | Cell:  646-306-4327 | Fax: 844-315-9418 |

Another key important factor is the fact that many buyers come to Westchester from the city, and they must first sell their coops/condos before doing so.  There are fewer coops and condos on the market under a million than there were a year or so ago, and putting it simply,  buyers entering the market in the city, can’t afford the higher priced properties, and there is a paucity of lesser priced  apartments, people can’t afford to ‘move up’ and so the higher priced apartments are simply sitting there.  There are many new buildings so the apartments are available but at such high prices,  people cannot afford them.  Grant Long wrote a great article on the real estate market  in the city, explaining in detail stats these past few years.  

Buyers are waiting for price drops there, and so this market trend is affecting Westchester sales.  It should be noted that private schools in the city can cost up to $50,000 a year, and this is where Westchester’s great schools should make buying a home in Westchester a no brainer! When you start adding the cost of  a private school for 2 children in the city, compared to our higher taxes here, then the value of moving to Westchester becomes quite evident as one offsets the other. Plus, Westchester offers beaches, great parks, sports of all kinds, sailing, kayaking and fresh air!! If you live in lower Westchester, you are also 30 minutes or so from the city. The best of both worlds! 

However, if a mortgage will cost more for a buyer thus lowering their buying power, it should also be stated that the cash they might have had to renovate a home last year, is also shrinking, and so buyers are also seeking homes that are renovated,  and do not require too much work ‘to make it their own’. If there are 10 homes on the market in the same price range, and one of those homes is completely renovated  with a newer kitchen, bathrooms, etc. – then it is obvious which house will sell first. Sellers should make sure their home is priced well ( perhaps a tad lower than they would like but to attract as many buyers as possible) , presented well, and any little jobs that require fixing, they should take care of them. We talk about the buyers being fussy, and I hope this article explains why this is so!

The buyers are out there, but they are seeking value. Since there are price drops in the different towns,  sellers in New York will potentially offset any loss they might have there with similar price drops in Westchester  (higher priced homes) .

Please contact me for all of your real estate requirements!

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So Many Languages Offered in the New Rochelle Schools!

There are so many GREAT reasons to purchase a home in New Rochelle. One such reason would be the languages offered to our students in the different schools. 

Did you know that your student has the opportunity of learning a variety of languages such as Spanish, Italian, Mandarin, French and Latin.

“Our Dual Language Programs’ mission is to prepare multi-literate citizens in an international community. We seek, therefore:
1. To develop literacy and fluency in both English and in a second language (Spanish or Italian)
2. To promote cross-cultural awareness through the integration of English speakers and Spanish/ Italian speakers
3. To create accessibility to advanced world language credits and courses in higher grades
4. To promote high academic achievement through linguistic cognitive development. “

Mandarin is offered at the Davis Elementary School grades 2nd thru 5th, and at Webster Kaleidoscope grades 4th and 5th. No other elementary schools has Mandarin.  At Davis students have classes twice at week and at Webster every other day.

Ward and Trinity offer CILA programs  (Children’s International Language Academy). This is comprised of students speaking Spanish, and those students  who have some knowledge of Spanish.  However, At Ward, there is a  FLES program  (Foreign Language in the Elementary School) in Spanish K thru 5th. At Jefferson there is also a  FLES program K thru 5th. At Webster  there is a Spanish FLES K thru 5th No FLES programs are offered at Columbus or Trinity.

At Barnard, there is a Italian FLES program K thru 2nd Grade.  There is an Italian FLES offered at Jefferson 3rd thru 5th Grades.

Latin is offered at the High School, and it is also offered at both Middle school Albert Leonard Middle School and Isaac E. Young Middle School.

Both middle schools offer Spanish, French, Italian, Mandarin and Latin. 

Mr. Juan Mendez , Chairperson of World Languages  & the ELL Department very kindly took the time to answer my questions on existing languages offered, but I also wanted to ask some  additional questions:

  1. What do you see for the future of different languages in our school district?  What are the percentages of students taking the AP courses?   (Answer)  At this juncture, there is not interest in adding another language. I do not have the percentage of AP students but I can tell you that we have two sections of AP Spanish language, one section of AP Spanish Literature, one section of French language, one section of AP Italian language, one section of Mandarin AP language, and one section of Latin AP.

New Rochelle Schools offer wonderful programs, and as I wrote in a recent blog, our students attend superb Colleges and Universities!

Come and visit. You will love it, and want to stay!

New Rochelle is GREAT!

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Rhiannon Navin – Author “The Only Child” – New Rochelle Resident –

Imagine my surprise when I popped into the  New Rochelle library, and I saw in the express book section, a new book written by a former client and friend, Rhiannon Navin entitled “The Only Child” !  I contacted Rhiannon immediately as I wanted to interview her for my blog site (of course!), and to also learn about the process as I know firsthand how busy she is with her family and pets.

The story centers around a 6 year old boy, Zach, who survives a school shooting where 15 students and 4 adults are killed, and it is written from the young Boy, Zach’s perspective, and describes how he copes with the day to day emotions, and how his parents react to losing their older son who was one of the students murdered.

We met for  lunch at  Patrias where we dined on some some tapas and wine (always good -and a great restaurant), caught up on our gossip and  then Rhiannon shared with me how the book took her a year to write, how that once she started writing, it just evolved,  and flowed, and she found herself working into the wee hours each night trying to capture her thoughts whilst anew.  Rhiannon has young children, and if she felt unsure of how to phrase a word or an emotion, she always had her children to help her out.  They were her focus group.   She also found it very important to obtain a writing coach. Rhiannon used to work in advertising, was always used to hard work ,  but she had children – how could she write and be a mom!  Her coach who described herself as being ‘an unkind coach’ was the kindest coach Rhiannon could have hoped to have met,  told her to  dedicate time  each day, and  to write and write.  She did just that, and found  herself writing at night , during the day, and having the coach was a wonderful sounding board and critic.  The perfect support system.  Even though her coach was living in Dubai, it all worked out perfectly. Rhiannon researched agents, and was very fortunate to be signed by the very first agent she approached, and her book is  published by Knopf.  I guess that goes a long way to describe the book’s substance.

I had read the first two chapters prior to meeting Rhiannon, and I found myself tearing up – who wouldn’t when reading about such sensitive subject matter?  To read how a teacher and children were hiding in a closet whilst hearing gun shots.  Who would want any child to experience that.  So, I had a sense of the story line , but I also wanted to read the book. I must confess, I was mopping away the tears as I finished reading the book at 5 am one morning.

It is written intelligently and well, and there is also a sub narrative taking place too where you catch a glimpse of what the parents are feeling, how they are reacting to the situation, and each other,  coping and not coping and how it affects Zach.   Would  you blame the parents of the young man who committed the crime or do you come together as a community and help each other through this unimaginable horror? These are the topics touched upon in this book.

How did the story evolve? Rhiannon  has twins, and after a lock down drill at school, she came into a room to find one of her twins under the dining room table,  hiding from the ‘bad guys’.  It made her wonder what emotions her children were going through having to learn the necessity in today’s world of a lock down drill. The book took format in her mind, and she felt compelled to write it through the  eyes of a child. It seemed like the most natural approach.

The book was published just before the Parkland tragedy, and so she felt it only right to take a step back before conducting any tours or interviews.  That is Rhiannon.  The book has been well received by all, and it is now published around the world.

You can still meet Rhiannon as she tours with other authors and here is a link to those upcoming events.  

Rhiannon is now working on her second novel, and I cant wait to read it!

New Rochelle is a great place in which to reside,  and be creative!

New Rochelle is GREAT!




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2018 College Choices for Top 33 New Rochelle Students

Each year, the Principal usually announces the top 25 students college choices at the award ceremony. This year, since there were 33 students with GPA’s of over 100, Mr. Richardson announced the top 33 students  college choices! While I am just listing the colleges,  please know that each student was so qualified in every respect. 

  1.  Princeton – Studying Math and or Philosophy
  2.  Harvard – Engineering
  3.  Yale University – Political Science
  4.  Dartmouth College – Environmental or Biological Engineering
  5.  John’s Hopkins – Bio-Medical Program & Computer Science   Dual Program
  6.  Georgia Institute of Technology – Aerospace Engineering
  7.  University of Michigan – Psychology or Political Science
  8.  Amherst – Playing Soccer! Studying Neuroscience & Psychology
  9.  Purdue University – Engineering
  10.  University of California at Los Angeles – Political Science
  11.  Washington University in St. Louis – Psychiatrist
  12.   Middlebury College – Political Science
  13.   Yale University – Law School for Foreign Relations
  14.   New York University – Student scored a PERFECT score in the SAT’s in Math
  15.   Villanova University
  16.   Cornell University
  17.   Belmont University – Academic Scholarship majoring in Music
  18.   University of Michigan – Ross School of Biusiness
  19.   Cornell University – Neurologist
  20.   Brown University –  Her goal?  United States Senator!
  21.   SUNY Binghamton  – Business & Math
  22.   University of Michigan – Public Health Field of Medicine –  Pediatrician
  23.   University of Texas at Austin – Mechanical Engineering
  24.   Binghamton University – Computer Science
  25.   Cornell University – Business
  26.   University of Oregon – Clark Honors Program
  27.   Providence College – Biology  Engineering
  28.   University of Maryland – Psychology & Early Childhood Development
  29.   University of Pittsburgh Honors Program – Mechanical Engineer
  30.   Florida State University – High School Teacher & Writer
  31.   Tufts – Medicine & Computer Science
  32.   Cornell University – Business
  33.   New York University –  Finance


New Rochelle is GREAT!



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Living on Argyll Avenue New Rochelle 10804

When Lori and Michael first purchased their home  at 22 Argyll Avenue back in 2004,  Lori was seven months pregnant, and they did not know anyone in the area. They were excited to have purchased their first home, and were absolutely thrilled when the sellers of that home offered them furniture they didn’t require. They felt welcomed. Even more so when all of the neighbors brought over baby gifts when Lori’s son was born.  They always knew that New Rochelle was the city in which they wanted to raise their children, attend the award winning schools, but they had no idea that they would be welcomed into a ‘community’. 

The neighbors were great, and told them both that if they ever needed any help, any help at all – to just call! Well, wouldn’t you know that in October of that year, Michael had just boarded a plane, cell phones about to be turned off, and Lori called  – worried for the baby saying ‘we have no heat!’ The only thing Michael could think to say was – call the neighbors, and that is what Lori did.  One of the neighbors came over, stayed over 2 hours waiting for the repairman, taking notes when he did so he could later tell Michael how the heating system worked,  and once again, Lori and Michael knew that this was a special street, not only a special home.

Over the years, the neighbors have become great friends, looking out for everyone, helping each other, and Lori and Michael even witnessed the signing of their neighbor’s will !

The neighbors are all now sorry to hear that Lori and Michael are selling their home at 22 Argyll Avenue, and it is with mixed emotions that Lori and Michael are leaving. They love their home, their street, their friends, but it is time to leave.  This past week, Lori was one of this year’s Honorees at the Guidance Center of Westchester Annual Gala.  They were thrilled when 6 of their neighbors attended the Gala in her honor.

Lori and Michael  love the proximity to the high school which is perfect for those after school activities, for sports programs, no bus ride necessary (and so a later departure time from home!),  and also offers the only Planetarium in Westchester,  The Museum of Arts and Culture   (which is the only Regents-chartered museum in a school in the State of New York),  and the PAVE Program (Performing and Visual Arts Education).

Since New Rochelle is a city,  the high school offers many college based programs, and  each year the graduating students attend the best colleges and universities in the country.

As CBS News just reported on May 1st,  New Rochelle has at least one student headed to each Ivy League College. No surprise to me or other New Rochelle residents. New Rochelle is great! Just ask Lori and Michael and/or their neighbors.

Come and visit. You will be welcomed, and you will love it!

New Rochelle is GREAT!

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A quick Tour of Downtown Mamaroneck !

It was sunny and glorious day…  I felt compelled to take a few photos  whilst walking in downtown Mamaroneck. Please join me!

A portion of the 6.7-square-mile village is located within the Town of Mamaroneck along with Larchmont, and its east side lies within the town of Rye.

The village is geographically blessed with a landscape that hugs Long Island Sound. Named after the Indian word meaning “where the fresh water meets the salt,” the village of Mamaroneck grew around its inland harbor, which is the second largest natural small boat harbor on the East Coast. The fact that 52 percent of Mamaroneck village’s total area comprises water means that it offers not only a wealth of sandy beaches and scenic shoreline, but also countless recreational opportunities like sailing and fishing. Large expanses of parkland boast miles of trails for walking, hiking or picnicking.

The village was once a magnet for wealthy families from New York City seeking a summer home just outside the hustle and bustle of the big city, and among its famous residents was Norman Rockwell. Today, many individuals working in Manhattan are drawn to the community because of its convenient commute, as the city is only a half hour away. Mamaroneck enjoys a vibrant retail, restaurant and entertainment scene. Only a handful of New York City suburbs can hope to offer as much to residents and visitors as this lovely southern Westchester community.

Mamaroneck is GREAT!

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Public Open House today at 22 Argyll Avenue, New Rochelle from 1-3 p.m.

Please join me today from 1-3 p.m. at this truly unique and charming home in New Rochelle.

Welcome home to this 2710 square foot 5 bedroom, 4 bath Tudor home with its exquisite architectural detailing. The vaulted ceiling in the living room compliments the stone fireplace, and beautiful large picture window. There is a distinctive wrought iron entrance way to an office adjacent to the living room, and you will love the formal dining room which overlooks the living room – so perfect for entertaining! The large modern kitchen features a new walk-in pantry that is sublime as is the newly paved patio which is easily accessed via the kitchen. The patio is the perfect setting for all entertaining. The two first floor bedrooms both have en suite bathrooms which is both unusual and great. One is currently being used as a den, the other an office – your choice! The spacious master bedroom has a new en suite bathroom, great closet space, and there are 2 additional bedrooms and a renovated hall bath. Gas heat, NEW roof, windows replaced, upgraded electrical and all just 35 minutes to NYC.

This delightful home is being offered at $769,000.



New Rochelle is GREAT!

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116 Pelham Street Public Open House Sunday April 29th -1-3 p.m.

Please join Carola E. Schönander Gigante and Tina DiNota at 116 Pelham Street today in Mamaroneck for an open house at this charming home from 1-3 p.m..

Close to Mamaroneck Harbor with its beach, pool and indoor hockey rink, and even closer to to the trains, fine dining and the soon to be new cinema, this 3 bedroom, 2 bath 1586 square foot home with its low taxes is a great alternative to a condo or townhouse in this vibrant town. The entrance foyer leads to a sunny living room with a fireplace, spacious kitchen, dining room, full bath and laundry room which accesses the truly charming and romantic rooftop patio. Enjoy your morning coffee or tea, or evening aperitif while you appreciate the lush flowers. The second floor master bedroom features a walk in closet with great built-ins, 2 additional bedrooms and a beautiful new spa like bathroom. While not included in the square footage, the walk out lower level is great space in addition to housing the utilities. There is a one car garage, a side yard, and don’t forget you are just 40 minutes to NYC! The heating system is newer, the washer dryer are new, come and visit. You will love it!  The home is being offered at $635,000.

Carola Schonander has had extensive training in Real Estate. Her eagerness, professionalism and enthusiasm has already led to many closed transactions. Her previous career in journalism and marketing took her from her native Venezuela to London, New York, Lima and Mexico City. She moved to Larchmont in 2001 with her Swedish-born husband and their three children. As well as speaking Spanish and Italian, Carola has strong international connections, a valuable asset in this diverse community. She has developed deep roots in the local community, and understands the needs of newcomers, having relocated on many occasions.

She belongs to the Church of St. John and St. Paul and is a member of the Orienta Beach Club, New Rochelle Racquet Club and New York Road Runners. Join she and Tina (who we welcome to our office)  today!

Larchmont is GREAT!

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