Brooklynites are still seeing plenty of advantages to moving to upstate New York — more space, less stress, the dollar goes further, and the air is cleaner.
“It’s been pretty consistent the last several years,” says Gia M. Young, real estate salesperson at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dobbs Ferry, “and that won’t change as long as there continues to be a shortage of inventory in New York City.”
Here are a few tips to be mindful of when relocating:
Know when it’s prime time: Prime time for buyers and sellers is April through June, but Jean Cameron-Smith, an agent at the Chappaqua office of William Raveis, says that’s not always the case. “Some inventory comes on the market after Super Bowl weekend in places like Chappaqua and Briarcliff Manor,” she says.
Beware of “unknown costs”: Victor Mendolia, from Beach and Bartolo Real Estate in Chatham, says property taxes Upstate can be surprisingly high. “This is particularly true when there is another layer of municipal government like incorporated villages or cities,” he says.
Cameron-Smith says another unknown cost can be the home inspection — especially if the residence sits in a rocky area, for which an inspector will recommend a radon test. “It costs $100,” she says. “And if radon is found, it’s the seller’s responsibility to remediate.”
Use a local buyer’s agent: Young says that a local buyer’s agent is more likely to know property tax assessments and zoning code implications. “The local agents also know each other and have established relationships, which may benefit their buyers,” she says. One place to find them is on Brownstoner Services.
Consider renting before buying: Mendolia says that this option is chosen by many Brooklynites, although affordable units are becoming more scarce. “But they are still out there,” he says. “Not all brokers do rentals, but the ones that do usually have a few apartments or houses at any given time.” (Note: Unlike in New York City, the landlord usually pays the broker fees for both the landlord and the tenant).
Don’t compare apples to apples: Since most buyers are coming from an apartment in Brooklyn and looking at single-family homes Upstate, the costs will be different. “For example, instead of maintenance,” says Cameron-Smith, “there’s landscaping and snowplow removal.”
“Upstate New York is not New York City,” says Mendolia. “The most frequent question I get from people who are thinking about relocating is: ‘Do you miss New York?’ To which I say ‘I thought I would, but I’ve never looked back.’ Most people here are former New Yorkers, or Bostonians, or from Provincetown. So they get you and it’s comfortable and friendly.”
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