Move to Westchester County, NY

12 Replies

Good afternoon,

I am an engineer considering a move to Westchester County from Dallas, TX, and I would like to house hack my way in New York. I am unfamiliar with the real estate market in the area, so I am looking for advice on where to look for multifamily properties. I have found some properties via the MLS, many of which have appeared within the past two weeks. Several questions I have in mind to get familiar with the area:

-Is there a reason that a bunch of multifamily properties have appeared on the market recently?

-What is the level of demand for multifamily living in Westchester County?

-How has the market changed in the past several years?

-What demographic should I expect to see in the area?

-What is STAR in terms of taxes and how should I integrate that into my deal analysis?

I am keen to jump in with both feet, and would love to know any other advice you may have that is specific to the area.

Thank you!

@Emily Horton

Congrats on making the move to NY. The area in Westchester that would work for you would depend on where you will be working here and what is more convenient. Lower Westchester has many more multis than upper due to its proximity to the City. Places like Yonkers, New Rochelle, White Plains, Mount Vernon, and New Rochelle are all good places to invest, but you do have to be careful with high taxes. 

-This is the time that properties will now start to hit the market more and more, but we still have low inventory in these areas.

-Multifamilies are easily rentable in Lower Westchester. 

-The market has been steadily going up.

-The demographic will depend on what area of Westchester you want to invest in.

-I would count on STAR more as a bonus. When and if you are using a mortgage they will base your qualification on total taxes

It would be good to know a little bit more of where you'll be working, how far you'd be willing to travel, how many units do you want, have you been pre-qualified, etc... That would help us give you the best advice possible.

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Welcome to New York!

I could see demand for multi-families rise because Westchester has some of the highest property taxes in the nation and homeowners there can no longer deduct their local taxes from their federal bills. The entire New York metro area is bracing for impact.

I'm not a CPA but my understanding is that property taxes on rental properties are still deductible to some extent and income going into pass-through entities like LLCs (which are often used for real estate) are still allowed a deduction (correct me if I'm wrong on this!). So between the tax advantages of owning rental properties and the fact that buyers in this market will not have the same purchasing power as before, those in lower income brackets (particularly younger people) may opt to rent in Westchester rather than buy a single family home. All of this would logically drive demand for multi-families.

This is all speculation on my part. It's much too early to know the full impact of the tax overhaul on Westchester real estate.

Also I don't know anything about the STAR program so I won't comment on that part.

@Emily Horton welcome to NY, I'm curious as to why move to NY, I hear Texas is seeing such a bloom in population growth. westchester is an ideal area as it's just outside of NYC, very expensive area however u get alot of people moving out of NYC due to affordability. from what I've been watching on the mls, alot of the multi family's need upgrading and so, I've seen a few foreclosures hit the mls recently as well, good luck on ur new venture may u decide

One of the keys to investing in Westchester is proximity to downtown and to trains to Manhattan.  The folks who are reluctantly leaving the city and moving to the suburbs because they have kids and need more space, which they cannot afford in the city, want desperately to replicate their city lives in the 'burbs as much as they can.  They want to be able to walk to restaurants, cafes, and bars, and to commute into the city without having to drive to the train and park.  So the properties that are near downtown/transit are in high demand, and properties that are farther away from amenities can sometimes languish on the market.  

If you buy rental property that allows someone to live in Westchester without being dependent on a car, you will do well.

Of course, the numbers have to work and it has to cash flow for you.

@Emily Horton ,

There are so many great points made in this thread! I echo all of them, and I grew up in New Rochelle, have been very heavy in the multi market looking at what our market has to offer and can give you very detailed background about certain areas of lower westchester. Over that last 5 years I have been living all over lower Westchester to get a good feel for different neighborhoods including downtown New rochelle, Tuckahoe (Eastchester), Briarcliff (very close to Sleepy Hollow and Ossining), even the Bronx on City Island. My parents grew up and ran businesses in Yonkers as well. 

I currently work with a Developer in New Rochelle and we are currently building a 114 unit multi family rental, and there is quite a bit of development going on here currently. 

I’d love to connect and help you find the best place for your needs. 

By the way, are familiar with Craig Hall down there in Dallas?

Wow, thanks y'all for all the feedback so far!  Further proof that southern hospitality is not only in the south.

@Cesar Rosas, I will be working in Tarrytown and will prefer to have a commute less than 20 minutes.  I have been focusing my search on that radius to the south, closer to the city, including towns like Yonkers and White Plains and everything in between.  I'd be open to any small multifamily, 2-4 units, and I have not yet been prequalified.  Would you have any recommendation of local banks or lenders to talk to to be prequalified?  

@Josane Cumandala, thank you!  That helps me understand what further questions to ask.

@Michael Gessner, I like Texas, but my W-2 job offered me a position in NY, and I have been looking to make a change.  This will also give me the opportunity to make the push to own an investment property, rather than keep waiting where I am currently.  

@Jonathan Twombly, I just listened to the podcast you were on this morning!  Thank you for the advice--that all makes a lot of sense, and I will definitely apply it to my search.  

@Adam Cherko, you sound like you have a ton of great experience in that area, and I appreciate your expertise!  I would definitely like to talk more, especially as I go up there and decide where I want to look and live.  I do not know Craig Hall, but I haven't been in real estate for very long!

@Emily Horton Congrats on your decision to move to Westchester County. I can't say I am surprised that you chose this area since the Real Estate has blown up over the past 2 years in both Yonkers & Mount Vernon. Investors came in with a full blown force and made the value of properties go up. 

The one major difference is Mount Vernon you have the taxes eat away at most of the profit you get and any multi family higher than a duplex is most of the time not profitable.

Yonkers taxes are extremely reasonable and lots of value add in zip code 10701.

Now, to answer your questions:

-Is there a reason that a bunch of multifamily properties have appeared on the market recently?

Since I am an agent and investor in both areas I speak to investors all day. People sell their properties and trade them for others all day and I have not come across 2 investors yet that are selling for the same reason. "Each to their own" they say. 

There is absolutely NO REASON that anyone can give since its a question thats to broad. And if someone is telling you a reason they're delusional. 

-What is the level of demand for multifamily living in Westchester County?

The Demand is so hot right now and the market is so tight. Speak to any agent in the area and they will tell you the same. Most of the deals are done "off market" and like they say"the good ones are taken, the rest are handicapped".

Hope this helps. If you do plan on house hacking you can easily live rent free and make some money to. i wish you the best of luck!

Hi Emily welcome to Westchester and I also recently moved here from Rhode Island. I house hacked in RI and it was easily the best decision in my life. I am currently also looking for multi-families in the Westchester area and the inventory is incredibly low here and the high prices and taxes makes it difficult to have positive cash flows even with the rental prices around. 

Based on what I have seen so far, I wouldn't say there is a sudden appearance of multi-families.  I did notice Greenburgh, Tarrytown, Ardsley, etc. recently had a change in how properties are assessed and I haven't figured out what the real impact of this is yet. 

I hope you find a great deal in the area and enjoy your house hack here! I am not an agent or anything but I'd love to share my experiences if you have any questions.

@Emily Horton 

Yes I can provide you with some local lenders we work with. Inbox me for their info. When doing deal analysis make sure you take those taxes into consideration. With new laws and regulations you also may want to steer clear of 10k+ a year in taxes. Yonkers is a pretty hot area that has seen some steady increases and property taxes are still affordable. You do need to know how to navigate that market and if you are looking for safe, nice areas you definitely want to do your homework. Getting qualified and knowing what you can afford is the 1st step. 

@Emily Horton it sounds as though I am in a very similar position to you. I am an engineer in my day job and a rental property investor. What type of engineering do you practice? My wife and I currently have two rental properties, one single family, and one multi-family house. We have just recently relocated to White Plains, NY and are renting our residence for the time being. We are also searching for a multi-family to house hack. 

@Adam Cherko I like the idea of residing in several markets were you might like to invest, to really get to know your market.  What region of Westchester Co. would you recommend for a multi-family property to househack? I checked out your profile and saw that you are a structural engineer, we have that in common. I am an Eagle Scout also.  We should connect sometime.

-Marc Knapp PE 

Marc Knapp, what day are you free to chat, those are all great things to have in common! Shoot me a pm!

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