Andrea, Home Buyer in Chappaqua, NY

My husband and family are currently renting in Chappaqua, NY. We have started looking to purchase a home. We

Asked by Andrea, Chappaqua, NY Fri Feb 8, 2008

like Chappaqua because of the schools and commute time into the city, however do not like the taxes. Also, a 4 bedroom house is priced extremely high. We wouyld like to stay below 1 million. We are interested in Westport,CT. I have a few questions regarding the area:1) How are the public schools? I know according to one source they are not rated as high as Chappaqua- but where can I get information?2) How is the commute? I was told that the train parking in westport is not convenient and not guaranteed. Any information is helpful. I am also looking for a local realtor for that area. Thanks. Andrea

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9
Gary McIntosh, , Fairfield County, CT
Thu Feb 14, 2008
Southern Fairfield County is a wonderful alternative to NY and NY taxes. As far as staying under $1 million and moving to Westport you would have to do a lot of searching. As a realtor it's illegal to comment on schools and school districts. As what might be great to you, might not for the next person. Your best bet is to contact the schools directly. No web site can ask and research as you can. Purchasing a home is a huge decision, so take the time to do your homework, before you start your actual home search. Make a list of what is important to you and your family. You might be surprised of the results and at that point and time, it might make your area choice easier. Please contact me if I can help in any way: (203) 979-2132, Gary McIntosh, McIntosh Realty @ Keller Williams. Also check out my web site it has a lot of beneficial info, http://www.mcintosh-realty.com.
4 votes
Darcy Sledge, , Westport, CT
Thu May 8, 2008
I have a unique perspective, since I worked in NYC and commuted from Westport for 13 years. I also have children in the school system. It has been correctly noted that agents are not allowed to opine on one school system being better than another, but as a parent and a real estate agent here, I have been quite happy with the school system, and so have my clients who have moved from different communities all over the world. The system here offers excellent resources, including as many AP level classes as you would like to have. We have an abundance of students attending Ivy League schools every year, including this year, which was the most difficult one EVER. (I am not necessarily pushing Ivy League schools, but some parents use that as an indicator). I am also intimately familiar with the train system. The train is not 100% perfect, but in my opinion, it is consistent, reliable and punctual, even when the weather would predict something less than perfect. I would prefer the train to the freeway any day! Westport has two stations and a number of express trains (3 stops to Grand Central Station or less). Nearby Fairfield has 2 stations as well, and is a slightly longer ride, but Fairfield also has many express trains. A Westport ride is about an hour and a Fairfield ride is maybe 10 minutes longer. Wilton is also a lovely community. The trains in Wilton run on a spur line, so it is slightly more complicated, but many commuters are very happy in Wilton. Weston is another likely choice for a wonderful community. Depending on where you are in Weston, you can commute via the Westport station, or cut over to the Wilton line. Regarding houses under $1 million, now is the best time EVER to take advantage of some inventory that has been reduced in price! I am seeing this all the time, as sellers realize that we are getting to the close of the busy spring season. There are some great houses out there! Have a good agent check into Westport, Weston, Wilton and Fairfield - you would be surprised what is available!
0 votes
Ripee Sawhney, , Ridgefield, CT
Wed Apr 30, 2008
I am an agent that has lived in Wilton for 17 years. It is a wonderful town and the school system is JUST WONDERFUL. They have had between 6-8 National Merit Finalists for the last 3 years, which more than any school system around here. Ridgefield also has an excellent school system.The market in Wilton is still steady and it is mostly due to the best public school system in the state that attracts many families. If need more insight, please call me.

Ripee Sawhney
Century 21 Landmark Properties
Cell: 203-243-3273
Email: Ripee.Sawhney@Century21.com
0 votes
Sebastian Ba…, Agent, Ridgefield, CT
Wed Apr 9, 2008
Hi Andrea

Westport CT is a great area to live and the schools do have a great reputation locally, below is a link to my website which has information on each of the communities I serve. Check the CERC Town profile for each town to see the statistics for the schools including SAT averages. If you need to stay below 1 million Westport will be tough because the average price of a 4 bedroom home over the last year was over 1.4 million.

There are several nearby communities which have lower prices that will give you a lot more choice when looking for a 4 bedroom home, I recommend Wilton, Weston, and Fairfield. Each of these communities has an average of ~1 million for a 4 bedroom home and good schools. Of these three Fairfield has the lowest taxes which will give you more disposable income for a larger home or private school if you are not happy with the public schools. Fairfield is on the coast and has the train running through town so will be much more convenient than Wilton or Weston when commuting to NY. No schools in CT have the low student to teacher ratios of your public schools in Chappaqua.

If you want help finding a home in Fairfield county or you have any more questions feel free to contact me here or directly.

Sebastian
0 votes
Billy Roberts, Home Buyer, Fairfield, CT
Fri Feb 15, 2008
Andrea, I understand the draw to Chappaqua, I grew up there and the scholls are top notch. I am now raising a family of my own in Fairfield, CT and would never consider going back. Coastal CT has so much more to offer with it's coastline and beautiful towns. Truth is, after 8PM, there is absolutely nothing to do in or around Chappaqua.

If schools are really that important, you could almost fund a private education with the tax differential. I do. Not that Fairfield's schools aren't great, I choose private for the 7-1 ratio that you will not get in ANY public school.

Fairfield in particular has four beaches, one town lake, a town marina, two universitys, and a slew of great restaurants and shopping opportunities. It is also has two Metro North stations with a brand new third to be build as part of the towns new Metro Center.

If you want to stay in the home you raise your family in, you could be facing those property taxes for the rest of your life. My parents are in their 70s, have not had a child in the schools in 22 years and are continually challenged to meet the tax burden on retirement income. When my kids finish with private education, I won't have to pay for it any more.

Just something to think about.
0 votes
Art Meyer, , Ridgefield, NJ
Wed Feb 13, 2008
Andrea,
Have you thought about Ridgefield, CT.? Ridgefield can access the same train line as Chappaqua (Katonnah through Brewster) commute is the same as from Westport, parking is plentiful at the Purdy's station and Ridgefield is your quintessential New England town.
I used to commute to Grand Central from Ridgefield, the great thing about the Harlem line is that it rarely has any problems.
If you would like more info I can be reached at :meyera@raveisre.com
or by phone 203-240-6304
M. Arthur Meyer
William Raveis R.E
426 Main St. Ridgefield
203-240-6304
0 votes
Mark Markelz, , 06824,06825,06890,06612,06611,06880,06883,06897,06896,06468,06614,06470,06605
Sun Feb 10, 2008
Hi Andrea,
Thanks for your interest in coming to CT! Public schools in Westport are very good...I know several teachers and principals. Be wary of school rating systems....I have always recomended my clients
visit the schools "up close and personal" and speak with some of my past clients for their reviews.
There is an easy solution to the train station parking wait list in Westport too! Check out my web
site for all the information you need on the community, schools, housing and call me for a "top notch"
service in Westport and neighboring communities. 1.800.ASK.MARK
Web Reference:  http://www.800askmark.com
0 votes
Caitlin Cragg, , Connecticut
Fri Feb 8, 2008
Hi Andrea,
As a potential home buyer, Westport has its advantages, but alas to truly fit into your ideals, it would not match up quite as well as some other choices. Financially, it would be considered much more beneficial to you and your family to possibly invest in a home within the Wilton or Easton city limits. Pricey as they may seem, there are properties that would meet your needs and not exceed your spending limit. I have also taken the liberty in posting the link to the Strategic School Profile for the Wilton and Easton as their reviews speak for themselves.
Though I am aware that you are seeking out a 4 bedroom house, to refine my results I would need a few more pieces of information to truly given you a substantial list of possibilities. As far as demographics are concerned, New York is but a reasonable train ride away with times of:: Wilton: 78-95 min train ride; Easton: 10-15 min drive to either *Bridgeport: 72-92 min* or **Fairfield: 65-86 min** This gives you a bit more flexibility with parking options since there are plenty of areas nearby that can reduce the amount of inconvenience you will experience when searching for a spot (while the waiting list continues to expand.)
Feel free to contact me with any questions and I will do my best to provide you with answers that are up to date and unbiased.
Here are a few links to current listings
Wilton- http://cmls.fnismls.com/publink/default.asp?GUID=8c7f32c0-2c…
Easton- http://cmls.fnismls.com/publink/default.asp?GUID=1c0648fe-fd…

Caitlin Cragg
Caitlin.Cragg@Century21.com
(203) 615-3609
0 votes
Jayne Lagano, Agent, Fairfield, CT
Fri Feb 8, 2008
Andrea - Westport is a very New England, yet cosmopolitan town. With 25,000 plus residents, it's quite a bit larger than Chappaqua. However, the schools, beaches, shopping, cultural activites and low mill rate (13.73) are a big draw for many residents of New York.

There are currently only 18 properties for sale under $1million right now offering at least four bedrooms. None are new construction and all are under 4000 square feet. I would also recommend that you take a look at the neighboring town of Fairfield. It offers many of the exact same ammenities, yet housing is much more affordable.

Right now the waiting list for Saugatuck or Greens Farms (the two train stations in Westport) is four-five years. There are other alternatives, but they require a shuttle bus. There is some daily parking on a first-come first-serve basis. The waiting list at the two Fairfield train stations are 18-24 months, but with a new station being constructed, it should alleviate much of the parking problem.

I've attached the Strategic School Profile for the town of Westport to give you some comparison guide to Chappaqua schools.

As a full-time Realtor and a Fairfield County native, I'd be glad to help you with a better understanding of the towns and would be more than happy to show you a sampling of properties that might fit your needs.

Warm regards,

Jayne M. Lagano
0 votes
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