Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Hunt: BoogieDowner Breakdown

This week's "Hunt" in the New York Times was a high-end purchase in which the buyers fled the crowded streets of Flushing, Queens for the usual amenities that people move to the burbs for... You know, good schools, near grandma and grandpa, space for the kids to play, all that crap.

Hunt Honey Joyce Cohen detailed the real estate search of Nick Kravitz and his wife, Hongyu Adella Lin-Kravitz, a hedge-fun analyst and software developer respectively (la-di-da), as they tried to find a nice house in a good school district in Westchester for around $750,000. Nick grew up in a 20-room Victorian in Katonah, so clearly they had some pretty big shoes to fill.

It seems as if this couple approached the real estate process with the tenacity of a pit bull. Aside from actually distributing fliers expressing their interest to purchase a house on a particularly desirable block, they also created their own web application to help them sniff out repeat listings being marketed as new listings. The Kravitz's are a real estate broker's worst nightmare - I love them! I think I may actually hire them to handle our next hunt after we outgrow our beloved Bedford Park two bedroom.

Long story short, they ended up getting a nice house on a busy block in Scarsdale, and the kids will attend shee-shee-foo-foo (BoogieDowner term for "fancy") Eastchester schools. Congrats!

Of course, since we are the BoogieDowner, we must compare what these hunters would have found around their price point had they looked in the Bronx:

Had they looked at this "first -class" two-family home in Parkchester, they could have had their grandparents living right next door! Listed at $699,900, this luxury home comes in a cool $50,000 under what the Kravitz's are paying in Scarsdale. The big story here is, of course, TAXES. Instead of paying almost $800/month in taxes in Westchester, they'd pay only about $250/month. For the second week in a row, I'm also happy to report that these hunters could have had their very own bidet in their bathroom had they bought in the Bronx... and a plasma tv mounted above their jacuzzi bathtub - sweet! View full listing here.

Wow, the Kravitz's could have another two family home with six bedrooms for, again, $50,000 less than they paid in Scarsdale, had they looked at this house in the beautiful Morris Park section of the Bronx. Described as "city living with a country feel," this property would allow for lots of extra cash to be floating around each month with taxes being just over $300/month as opposed to $800/month they're paying in she-she-foo-foo Scarsdale. View full listing here.

For their $750,000, the Kravitz's could have picked up an extra bedroom had they looked at this five bedroom colonial beauty in Baychester. Again, the taxes would be a whopping $500 cheaper for them each month. View full listing here.

*Hunt photo courtesy of Alan Zale/New York Times*

*Update: Please click on the "Comments" section to read a few clarifications from the Hunter himself, Nick Kravitz. Thanks Nick!*



nickkz said...

Thanks for the comments on our hunt - I enjoyed reading the blogs as well as the torrent of emails that came back on this.

You are correct in that real estate taxes are far less in the Bronx; however you should also be aware that any savings in real estate taxes are more than eaten up in NYC income taxes. As we have 2 professional salaries I assure you we will be better off financially out of the city.

In fact I have nothing against the Bronx (the zoo and Italian food are unmatched elsewhere in the NYC area) but great schools and proximity to family & friends were behind the decision to buy in mid-Westchester.

the article did leave out a few key points - that is the purpose of the fliers was not to get into a desirable block, but to get a house on the border of 2 neighborhoods (hence have the opportunity to send one child to each side) and that the purpose of using the website was primarily to identify when houses were taken off the market so we could contact the owners of unsold houses directly and thus cut a broker out of the deal. But overall it was fairly accurate.

thanks again for your insightful comments!

Nick Kravitz

Boogiedowner said...

Thanks for reading Nick! And thanks as well for the clarifications...
Congrats to you and your family on your new home!