Many years ago (ooops I am aging myself)… my husband and I, newly married, and rather excited at the thought of purchasing our first home, asked a friend and attorney who lived in Westchester, which town to move to and live in. He promptly said “New Rochelle” and then gave me the name of a prominent and well known Realtor in that area. So, eager, excited and quite expectant, we called that agent, and made our appointment to view some homes.
I remember the occasion as if it were yesterday… She was a seasoned lady, very nice, and she showed us three homes, declaring one to be overpriced, one priced just right and the other priced okay…. The first home was located in the Bayberry area, a development which was built in the 1950’s, ranches and split level homes, having access to a community swimming pool, tennis and summer camp for smaller children. We were informed that many families lived there, and the house featured a smaller kitchen, first floor master bedroom, and 2 bedrooms on the second floor. A nice home but nothing special. The second home was located on Quaker Ridge Road, a much trafficked street, but hey – we were coming from Lexington Avenue and 57th Street – THAT was a well trafficked street! The third home was located on Pine Brook Boulevard, another well trafficked street but she didn’t mention that at the time.
We did not do any homework. Back then, there wasn’t the internet, no search engines to assist anyone, no Zillow, Trulia, etc. and so you would trust the expert – the Realtor. We felt indebted to the agent and her time spent, and when she called us to ask us which decision we had made, we felt obligated to choose one of the three homes. We chose the house on Quaker Ridge Road. On nearly ¾ of an acre, a nice home but soon learned that it WAS a well trafficked street with people racing by at over the 40 mph speed limit.
We had chosen the house – which had a lovely backyard, because it was in our price range, and it had left us for money for furniture… In retrospect, had we applied that same money into a larger but not so nice home – but in the estate area (which at that time was some $40,000 more – bearing in mind our home only cost $79,000 at the time) we could have lived in an older grander home, renovating as money allowed, and the value would have increased at a much higher level than it had with the home we had purchased.
Some 14 years later, with a growing family, we wanted to move, and since that estate area still beckoned to us, we called the same Realtor as before….well, no more three homes and choose one, it was “drive by this street and if you like what you see at this price, I will show it to you….” We then became a touch smarter and realized that if the realtor could not take the time to show us homes, then she was not deserving of our services. We looked elsewhere.
When we sold our home, we obtained approximately $282,000 for it, and that same fixer upper in the estate area was then $433,000 so far greater than that original $40,000 differential of 14 years earlier. Not only that, but our well meaning friend had advised us to take a 25 year mortgage, and so after 14 years, we still owed some $40,000 and if we had purchased the larger house to begin with … we could have saved money there. Hindsight is a wonderful thing! We decided to take a 15 year mortgage with our second house but even at 6.75% interest rate, our mortgage payment was some $4000 more a month than the previous mortgage….
Now, years later being a Realtor myself, I always reflect on that experience when I meet a new buyer. I would like to feel that I learned from my earlier personal experience. I do NOT only show 3 homes to a new buyer (although there are those agents who have confided that they do), I try to find out exactly what they like, what their needs are, and have come to realize that while some people can see a few homes and then purchase, with other buyers it is a learning experience. As a Certified Buyer’s Representative and an Accredited Buyer’s Representative, a Senior Residential Specialist, a GRI, an Associate Broker, I have taken the time to educate myself in best helping new buyers and experienced buyers in their home search.
NEW ROCHELLE is GREAT!