Archive for Westchester NY Real Estate Blog – Page 2


With the filming of two popular television series in New Rochelle and White Plains, and two new eateries in New Rochelle, summer sizzles in Westchester.

Residents of White Plains may have recognized scenes from Sunday’s premiere of HBO’s The Leftovers since many of them were taped right here in Westchester. The show stars Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, and Liv Tyler and is based on the novel by Tom Perrotta.

The series takes place in fictional Mapleton, New York. The story is that two percent of the world’s population mysteriously disappeared and no one can explain it. Several days of shooting took place in Saxon Woods Park and inside the Hastings Laundromat, the River Roadhouse Bar, and Main Street.

Spectator’s Pub on North Ave. in New Rochelle was the location for an episode of the Netflix original series, Orange is the New Black. The series is the story of Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), who is sentenced to 15 months in prison after she is convicted of a decade old crime of transporting money for her drug dealing girlfriend (Laura Prepon). The series has been renewed for its third season.

Recently opened at 679 Main Street in New Rochelle, Trilogy Bake Shop resembles a coffee house, but instead of caffeine, sugar is the star. Cookies, cupcakes, tarts, cheesecake, and other specialties are made onsite by creator Jessica Holland. Jessica attended the prestigious French Pastry School in Chicago and was mentored by the White House Pastry Chef. If you want to give your sweet tooth an original sweet treat, Trilogy Bake Shop is the place to go.

Tackling the challenge of replacing the iconic Donut World in the Wykygyl Shopping Center, the father-son team of Spiros and Taso Michilis opened Rochelle Coffee Shop. “We came in with a new mentality and wanted to focus on creating a new and modern menu, not old school. We’ve got more salads, and paninis and things like that,” Taso said. “We’re just trying to accommodate our customers and give people what they want.”

“This location has been an institution for a long time,” New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said. “I’m looking forward to the food and to see that tradition continued.”

If you would like us to help you find the home of your dreams in White Plains or New Rochelle, contact us here at Prudential Centennial. Summer sizzles in Westchester.

Everyone wants the lowest advertised mortgage rate, and are often confused when they don’t. If you were quoted a rate of 4.150% and your friend was quoted 3.525% from the same lender, you may wonder why. Several factors come in to play when figuring mortgage rates and a change in any of those factors could impact what rates you qualify for. Some factors may not have an impact on government loans like FHA or VA loans, but they could impact a conventional mortgage.

For a conventional mortgage, a credit score of 740 or above is considered an excellent score. Any score below 740 could result in higher costs or fees.

Higher loan-to-value ratios mean higher rates. That means that if you put 40% down, you should get a better rate than if you put only 10% down.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM) typically have lower rates than fixed rate mortgages. But ARM rates are subject to change and can go up or down depending on the market.

An investment property will typically have a higher rate than a primary or secondary residence. However, a condominium with less than 25% down payment will have a higher rate than a single family residence.

The conforming loan limit in Westchester County is $625,000, so rates are higher on loan amounts over $625,000.

You may end up paying a higher rate if you are getting a second mortgage along with a first.

If you are financing more than 80% loan-to-value for your home, mortgage insurance is required by lenders on conventional home loans. This insurance protects your lender. However, there are some ways you can avoid paying monthly mortgage insurance premiums.

Lender Paid Mortgage Insurance (LPMI) is where a borrower is charged a higher interest rate by up to 0.375% so there are no mortgage insurance premiums.

An 80/10/10 loan is structured as 80% first mortgage and 10% second mortgage to avoid mortgage insurance.

VA loans are not conventional loans so there is no monthly mortgage insurance. You pay a one-time funding fee that can be added to the loan amount.

If you are looking to purchase a home in Westchester County, let our friendly, experienced management team at Prudential Centennial help. We understand the needs of our clients when it comes to finding the perfect home and the perfect mortgage. Contact us today.

The Bustling Small Town of Hartsdale

Hartsdale has the distinction of being a suburb with a touch of the city. Single-family homes ranging from Cape Cods to Colonials located on tree-line avenues are some of the best images of suburban living. Shopping and dining options can be found on Central Avenue and East Hartsdale Avenue. Museums nearby include the American Museum of Natural History and the Keeler Tavern Museum.

Hartsdale is probably best known for being home to the very first Carvel Ice Cream Stand. The story goes that Tom Carvel’s truck got a flat tire while traveling through Hartsdale. Since the ice cream he was transporting was melting, he had to sell it quickly. The idea for the first Carvel store was born and Tom built it on the exact same spot he got his flat tire.

Hartsdale is home to the country’s first and oldest pet cemetery, with tombs that commemorate beloved dogs, loving epitaphs, and a history that travels as far back as the late 19th century. It has been hailed as America’s First and Most Prestigious Pet Burial Grounds, and offers pet owners a place to honor their wonderful pets’ lives.

The Greenburgh School District is comprised of public schools with teachers and staff who are 100% committed to their students’ learning experiences, there is a Catholic elementary school, Sacred Heart, and a Catholic high school, Maria Regina. Solomon Schechter is a Jewish school for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Nearby college and universities include Iona College, Mercy College, SUNY Westchester Community College, and Pace University.

The train station at Hartsdale has a conveniently located Starbucks right by the tracks, making it convenient for commuters to grab a coffee and sweet roll before starting the 30 minute ride to Grand Central Station.

Hartsdale is worth consideration for people who want something a little more suburban than White Plains, but who also want more activity than what is offered in much smaller towns. If you think Hartsdale sounds like a good fit for you and your family, we would love to help you find the home of your dreams. Our management team at Prudential Centennial Realty has over 60 years’ experience and is here to talk to you 7 days a week. Contact us today and let us help you make living in Hartsdale a reality.

Westchester NY Libraries

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Why Visit Your Local Westchester Library?

Everybody loves a freebie, but not enough people realize their local public libraries are treasure troves of free services and stuff, free opportunities and resources. You don’t have to be a Girl on Fire or a part of Dumbledore’s army to be a fan of your local library. There are still traditional library finds: books, booklets, textbooks, lecture notes, dictionaries, guidebooks, picture books, maps, atlases, CD’s and DVD’s, audio cassettes, and periodicals. But today’s libraries offer so much more. And the libraries of Westchester are some of the best in the country.

At the New Rochelle Public Library, children and their caregivers can join the health and fitness team from Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital’s Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) for a fun-filled hour of games, and movement..

For fans of Archie Comics, Mamaronek Public Library offers a private collection of Archie memorabilia in their showcase: It’s Always the Right Time for Archie Comics.

If knitting and crocheting is your thing, Project Linus Knitting and Crochet at Larchmont Library welcomes your talents. Project Linus has created and donated several blanket to Sound Shore Hospital to benefit local children.

Foreign film fans can view them at the Scarsdale Public Library.

Having problems with your computer, or just want to learn more about Microsoft programs? Then head on over to the White Plains Public Library.

Check out the online resources and teen job websites at the Eastchester Public Library.

Families can check out free passes to local museums at nearly all of our local libraries. Passes are available to adult cardholders in good standing, and museums include local favorites like the Katonah Museum of Art, the Neuberger Museum, the Hammond Museum, Japanese Stroll Garden, as well as New York City museums like the Museum of Modern Art, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Guggenheim.

Some of our libraries even offer yoga classes, art workshops, live music, meditation classes, poets and writers gatherings, and theatrical productions – at no charge! Check out your local Westchester library today to take advantage of all the freebies they offer.

Westchester has some of the best libraries in the country making it a terrific place to raise your family. If you would like to join our community, no one has more experience or expertise to help you than our friendly, dedicated management team at Prudential Centennial. Contact us 7 days a week.

Work-Life Balance in New Rochelle NY

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Work-Life Balance in New Rochelle

The term work-life balance conjures up thoughts of trying to spend an equal amount of time in all areas of our lives. But the problem with that is that almost no business person or entrepreneur can achieve that. While it may not be possible to fully balance life, it is possible to create a life that is in harmony with your vision. A few simple techniques will help you balance your life in New Rochelle.

Be in the moment. If you are at work, don’t be thinking about what you didn’t do with your family the night before, or what you will be doing with them later. While you are home, don’t be thinking about the work that still needs to be done at the office.

Be creative with your time management. If you have an important project at work that needs to be done in a specific amount of time, but you still want to spend time with your family, get creative. Spend time in the evening with your family, and after everyone goes to bed, get to work. That way you can finish your project without taking time away from your loved ones.

Integrate the different elements of our life. You may want to take your staff and management team on a work retreat to a beautiful, relaxing, remote place to work for a week. At the end of the designated work time, bring your family and spend time with them. Integrating both work and family worlds creates harmony.

Let go and hold on. This practice involves making choices. Practice understanding what things don’t need your attention, say no to them and let them go. Then think about those things that are truly important to you and hold on to them with dear life.

It might not be possible to split up your time equally between all areas of your life, but it is possible to be in the moment. Work-life balance might be illusive, but once your find it, life in New Rochelle will be the wonderful, rich and bountiful experience you moved here to find. A life in balance is a life well lived.

At Prudential Centennial Realty, we strive to do all we can to help with the transition of buying or selling your home. Our experienced management team is available 7 days a week. Let us help keep your life in balance.

Pre-Qualifying for Your New Home in White Plains

So you’ve decided to make the move to the beautiful suburban community of White Plains with its green parks, wooded preserves, excellent entertainment facilities, premier shopping, and close proximity to Manhattan. Now what? Pre-qualifying for a mortgage is a terrific place to start.

Pre-qualifying for a mortgage involves contacting a lender such as a bank, credit union, broker, direct lender, or savings and loan/thrift, completing a loan application and checking your credit. On the loan application, you will be asked for information about your income, employment and housing history, assets, credit, and liabilities. A credit report will be pulled to confirm liabilities and your ability to re-pay your debts.

Be sure to represent your personal situation on the application as accurately as possible. For example, don’t round up your income per month simply because it sounds better or is an easy number. Doing so can result in pre-qualification that is later denied. If you must estimate, however, underestimate your income and assets, and overestimate your liabilities so there are no unpleasant surprises.

Your time will be well spent if you make this process the first on your list when starting the search for your new home in White Plains. Not only will you be satisfied, but your real estate agent will be confident in representing you as a prepared, approved, and qualified buyer.

At Prudential Centennial Realty, our qualified management team understands that every individual’s situation is unique. We work hard to understand the specific needs of you and your family. Our licensed professionals are patient and informed and are able to provide local expertise, professional representation, and skilled negotiations on your behalf. We can provide detailed information about the local market conditions, education options for your family, events and attractions, local building codes and ordinances, utility companies and available services, and differences between neighborhoods in White Plains. We love White Plains, and we are here 7 days a week to help you find the home of your dreams here. Contact us today, and welcome home to White Plains!



White Plains NY, the Golden Apple of Westchester County

While New York City is referred to as the Big Apple, many people in Westchester County refer to White Plains as the Golden Apple of Westchester County. The residential suburban neighborhoods in White Plains with tree lined streets boast old and new housing styles. Each neighborhood is well maintained with green lawns and well-kept homes.

White Plains offers several golf courses, some private and some public. The parks and recreational areas are beautifully maintained, and the municipal services are second to none.

Schools in White Plains are well known for their choice program that was implemented over twenty years ago and copies by school districts across the nation. Each school has a theme and each family has a choice as to which elementary school they wish their children to attend. If you choose to send your child to a school across town, the choice is yours. White Plains also has many private schools to pick from.

If shopping is what you are looking for, look no further than White Plains. From Sears, WalMart, and Target to Old Navy and Michael Kors, from Neiman Marcus, Nordstroms, and Bloomingdales, to Burberry and Mary Jane Denzer, White Plains has what you are looking for.

Dining in White Plains offers a variety of experiences. BLT Steakhouse, Sera Fina, Asian Temptation, Buffalo Wild Wings, and many more, along with pub style taverns and sports bars allow hungry patrons to satisfy their appetites no matter what they are in the mood for.

When you think of White Plains, think convenience. Manhattan is just a 35 minute express train ride, and Westchester Airport is an easy 15 minute ride.

From beautiful neighborhoods, excellent schools, various forms of recreation, unmatched shopping, and eating experiences to wet any appetite, White Plains has it all. If you are considering a move to White Plains, Our experienced management team here at Prudential Centennial is available 7 days a week. Contact us soon because beautiful place to live is only a phone call away.

Renovating Your Scarsdale Home

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Renovating Your Scarsdale Home

If you are going to renovate an older home, it really does pay to know as much as possible about the history of the home. Older houses can be full of surprises, and the older they are, the more surprises you might be surprised to find.

If you are considering a renovating project on your beautiful Scarsdale NY home this summer, try to find as many old photos as possible and talk to anyone who might remember details and changes that have been made to your home over the years. This can help guide you through your project and create a more authentic result. It could also save many headaches, lots of time, and much money.

Busting the budget is a fear most people share when it comes to renovation because even if you add in a twenty percent cushion to cover little surprises and while we’re at it moments, it’s hard not to end up shelling out more than you planned to spend.

The trick is to save a little here and there in order to make room for those changes you really want to make. Here are a few tips to follow to make your renovation a pleasant and less expensive experience.

Reorganize and equip your kitchen for maximum utility, and you may not have to knock out any walls to gain square footage.

Bring natural light into an otherwise dark room by installing a light tube which is placed between the rafters and funnels sunshine into the space. That way you won’t need to punch a hole in the side of your house for a window.

Shopping at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore in New Rochelle can reap huge savings by utilizing recycled or slight used fixtures and building materials.

Recessed light fixtures are expensive because of the labor it takes to cut the holes and properly insulate them. Consider wall sconces or ceiling mounted light fixtures instead.

If you can avoid it, don’t move the kitchen sink or the toilet. Those two items often become the biggest part of the plumbing budget.

Renovating your Scarsdale NY home can be a satisfying and rewarding experience. But if you don’t yet have a Scarsdale NY home to renovate, we can help. At Prudential Centennial Realty, our team of experienced professionals will work with you to find exactly what you are looking for. Contact us 7 days a week and let’s get started.


“Fizz Boom Read” in Westchester

“Fizz Boom Read” is the theme of this summer’s reading program in libraries all over New York. And the libraries in Westchester have joined this summer reading jubilee with books and activities like concerts, craft programs, computer workshops, battle of the books, and author visits. Check with your local library for a list of books and programs.

So how do you get your children to read this summer?

Get a free library card

Sign your child up for Summer Reading at your local library

Read with your child every day

Bring along books to read while traveling or on vacation

Set a good example by reading on your own

Visit the library weekly, and make it a family affair

Keep a refrigerator list of books each person has read

The following reading lists will get you and your readers started on your “Fizz Boom Read” journey:

For curious readers:

Clever Trevor

Mangled by a Hurricane!

The Everything Kids’ Gross Book: Wind Your Way through Hours of Twisted Turns, Sick Shortcuts, and Disgusting Detours?


The Kids’ Book of Weather Forecasting

Science comes to life with these books:

Stop That Pickle

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

A Wizard from the Start: The Incredible Boyhood and Amazing Inventions of Thomas Edison

The Boy Who Invented TV: The Story of Philo Farnsworth

Creativity, passion, and exploration can be found in these pages:

The Everything Machine

Leonardo da Vinci for Kids: His Life and Ideas: 21 Activities

Wild Fibonacci: Nature’s Secret Code Revealed

Do Re Mi: If You Can Read Music, Thank Guido d’Arezzo

Dinosaurs: Encyclopedia Prehistorica

There are books about techno fun that explore technology, books about biology and living things, books geared toward teens like science fiction, things forged by fire, free speech, the arts, and environmentalism.

And that is just the tip of a very large iceberg. Your local Westchester Library is full of books that will entertain, spark the imagination, and encourage learning. Why not visit one of these public libraries this week and “Fizz Boom Read”:


Enjoy Sizzling Summer Seafood in Scarsdale

Something about summer in Scarsdale makes savoring seafood so much more enjoyable. And when that seafood is prepared simply on the backyard grill at your Scarsdale home, it is something special indeed. It isn’t difficult, but it can be a little tricky, so here are a few tips to get your seafood sizzling:


  1. Grill fish fillets skin side down. The skin holds the fillet together and protects the flesh from the flame. Remove the fish from the grill by sliding the spatula between the skin and the fish, the charred skin is left behind on the grate.


  1. If your fillets are less than an inch thick, grill them directly over the charcoal. If they’re more than an inch thick, cook them off to the side of the charcoal so the center cooks completely before the outside is overdone.


  1. Indirect grilling is best for delicate textured seafood. Try not to peek while the fish is cooking because every time you lift the lid, heat escapes prolonging the cooking time.


  1. White-fleshed fish fillets are usually done, but not dry, when their centers just turn opaque.


  1. Be sure to pat your fish fillets or seafood dry with paper towels before you grill it for better browning.


  1. A light coat of oil or cooking spray added to your seafood before grilling helps with the browning and keeps it from sticking to the grill.


  1. The general rule for grilling fish fillets is 4 to 5 minutes per 1/2 inch of thickness, and 8 to 10 minutes per each 1 inch of thickness. For other seafood, follow these recommendations:
  • Clams: 8 to 10 minutes – direct high heat – only eat the ones that open
  • Mussels: 5 to 6 minutes – direct high heat – only eat the ones that open
  • Oysters: 3 to 5 minutes – direct high heat
  • Scallops: 3 to 6 minutes – direct high heat
  • Shrimp: 2 to 4 minutes – direct high heat


Add a tossed salad, some fruit salsa, grilled veggies, antipasto salad, Greek pasta salad, or chilled fruit to finish off your sizzling seafood grill meal and enjoy our beautiful Scarsdale summer.

There really isn’t any place in the world like Scarsdale, and if you are planning to enjoy summer in Scarsdale in your very own home, contact us here are Prudential Centennial Realty and let us get your summer sizzling.


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