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IRVINGTON, N.Y. – Former Irvington resident Alison Strachan says she visits the Old Croton Aqueduct park as often as she can.

I "grew up on the OCA," she wrote on The Tarrytown Daily Voice

Strachan is not alone. The Old Croton Aqueduct Historic State Park has seen a more than 20 percent increase in visitors so far in 2012. The park has had 708,402 visitors this year, nearly 145,000 more than the same time period last year. The Aqueduct park was created in 1968 and spans the Western edge of Westchester County from Yonkers to the Croton Dam.

The Rockefeller State Park and Preserve in Pocantico Hills also saw attendance jump more than 20 percent. It recorded 236,732 visitors this year, nearly 49,000 more visitors than the same time last year.

The two parks are following a trend. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has announced that overall attendance within the system has increased by 2.3 million since last year — a 5.6 percent increase. New York State has seen nearly 43.7 million visitors at its 178 state parks and 35 historic sites this year.

"It is gratifying that so many people continue to enjoy and appreciate the New York state park system year after year," State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said. "New Yorkers are fortunate to have such high-quality and inviting state parks and historic sites across the state."

The statewide increase can be attributed to great weather and well-attended events such as Nik Wallenda's tightrope walk across Niagara Falls in June, Harvey says.

Lesley Walter, a Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct board member, believes the historic park is popular because it is dog-friendly.

"For that reason alone the OCA Trail is very well-used," she said.

Rockefeller State Park Preserve has become so popular that it doesn't have a down season anymore, park Manager Alix Schnee said. Fall is the park's busiest time, Schnee said.

"It used to be that the summers were very slow, that's no longer the case," she said. "We also had tremendous attendance during the peony season this year; we were literally jammed in the courtyard; and people came all day long."

Although summer is winding down, Harvey said the park system is expecting even more visitors.

"We've had a tremendous season so far, and we hope that our visitors enjoyed their time swimming, camping, golfing, hiking and sightseeing at our parks and historic sites," Harvey said. "But the year is far from over, and fall is one of the best times to get outside in New York."
The last phase of the Westchester NY, home buying process is crucial. You have already taken care of the inspection and the like, but now you have to wrap it all up. Then, your entire home shopping process will finally pay off on closing day. As they say, “It’s time to bring it on home!”

Whether it be Scarsdale, New Rochelle or Bedford, hopefully, your settlement process has moved forward without hitting any major snags. But at this point you need to review these ten last-minute tips for a smooth closing to make sure that you have covered all the bases.

Ten Last-Minute Tips for a Smooth Closing 
  1. You reviewed your estimated closing twice already and are about to review the document a third and final time right before closing. Don’t wait until the last few days or hours.
  2. Check with the closing company to make sure the seller has stayed on schedule.
  3. If you have negotiated for repairs to be made by the seller, chances are he will wait until the last minute to do them. He will want to make sure all of your contingencies have been met and removed and you are locked into the deal before he spends a single cent on your requested repairs. Make sure you and your Realtor keep tabs on the seller to get them done in time.
  4. Hopefully you have been staying on top of your mortgage broker or bank. Have all of your newest bank statements, pay stubs, and records ready just in case there is an eleventh-hour request for yet another document. Make sure your loan is approved and ready to fund in time for the closing.
  5. Confirm that the appraisal came in at the appropriate amount and that the official report has been sent to your mortgage company for approval of your loan. Without it, you won’t get your loan finalized.
  6. Review every document sent to you and return it immediately. Time is of the essence, and you need to be ahead of schedule at all times.
  7. If you have had an attorney work with you on this purchase deal, ask him to come to the closing. He will be able to do any last-minute troubleshooting on your behalf. If the escrow officer or closing agent knows your lawyer will be attending, all those little details will probably be taken care of before you arrive.
  8. Have your funds ready and transferred to escrow. You handed over your deposit money way back at the start of escrow. But where is the remainder of your funds for your down payment coming from? Are you pulling money out of a money market account, mutual fund, or savings account? Plan ahead by getting the money ready to be transferred or wired into the closing account. Banks, for instance, can often take a day or two when you request a wire transfer of a large sum. If you plan ahead you’ll also avoid paying penalties for withdrawing funds from other investment accounts. This could save you big bucks. The money must be in the escrow account prior to the closing day.
  9. Never close on a Friday. Always schedule a closing on a Wednesday or Thursday. Last-minute items often get delayed. Closing on a Wednesday allows for an extra day or two, just in case.
  10. Don’t plan to take possession of the property on the day of closing. In fact, be flexible for at least two days after the preferred closing date. Things always go wrong, and closings are often delayed.
Mirroring national trends, for the first six months of 2012, the Westchester County residential real estate market has continuedto strengthen, laying a firm foundation for a sustained housing recovery in our area. Pending sales have been exceptionallystrong in each of the first six months of this year, higher by double digits versus 2011. Closed sales for the second quarter of 2012are 15% higher than 2011 in Southern Westchester County, and are 22% higher in Northern Westchester County. The housingmarket began to improve in the first quarter of the year and has continued to sharply advance in the second quarter as consumerconfidence in the housing market has risen.
If we, in Westchester County go back to 2002, everyone wanted to buy a home, and we wanted everyone to be able to get a mortgage in order to buy a home. Unfortunately, we went too far in that direction and people who were not ready for homeownership entered into it. But there are times when we go too far in the other direction – when qualified people aren’t entering into homeownership. It’s up to us as Realtors to give good advice so our buyers don’t get caught in either situation (wanting a home they can’t afford or thinking they can’t achieve homeownership). We are counselors – we must educate with the heart of a teacher. Explaining that if prices are going up, they should buy before prices go up even more and if prices are falling, they shouldn’t necessarily run away from the idea of owning a home.
Here is a sampling of Scarsdale area homes that recently sold.
  • 18 Rural Drive, Scarsdale: Sold for $1,511,000 on June 13. This four bed, three bath, 3,309 square foot home sits on a .49 acre lot.
  • 47 Woodruff Avenue, Scarsdale: Sold for $625,000 on June 12. This three bed, two bath, 1,800 square foot home sits on a 4,922 square foot lot.
  • 14 Virginia Place, Larchmont: Sold for $980,000 on June 11. This four bed, four bath, 2,179 square foot home sits a 0.26 acre lot.
  • 61 Bon Air Ave, New Rochelle: Sold for $650,000 on June 11. This four bed, four bath, 2,978 square foot home sits on a 0.27 acre lot.
  • 7 Harcourt Road, Scarsdale: Sold for $1,425,000 on June 8. This five bed, four bath, 3,157 square foot home sits on a 0.29 acre lot.
  • 13 Harvard Road Scarsdale: Sold for $627,500 on June 8. This three bed, three bath, 1,901 square foot home sits on a 9,714 square foot lot.
  • 205 Rogers Drive, Scarsdale: Sold for $381,500 on June 8. This is a 9,583 square foot lot.
The information is provided by AOL Real Estate
WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – The Westchester real estate market is improving, and its momentum might have some staying power, according to Westchester County’s Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service, which just released its second quarter analysis for 2012.

Realtors reported 1,788 closed residential sales in Westchester County during the second quarter, which is an increase of 13.0 percent over the same period last year.

The U.S. finally has moved beyond attention-grabbing predictions from housing "experts" that housing is bottoming. The numbers are now convincing.

Nearly seven years after the housing bubble burst, most indexes of house prices are bending up. "We finally saw some rising home prices," S&P's David Blitzer said a few weeks ago as he reported the first monthly increase in the slow-moving S&P/Case-Shiller house-price data after seven months of declines.

The U.S. finally has moved beyond attention-grabbing predictions from housing "experts" that housing is bottoming. The numbers are now convincing, according to David Wessel on The News Hub. (Photo: Bloomberg News) Nearly 10% more existing homes were sold in May than in the same month a year earlier, many purchased by investors who plan to rent them for now.


Get a jump start on celebrating the weekend and enjoying your time away from work and school. Here are a few local events to help you and your family have some fun. TGIF!

1. Enjoy a family-friendly day of pirates, adventures and food. Head over to Pirates of the Hudson: The Siege of Sleepy Hollow Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and have some fun at the theme-filled day.

2. On Sunday, the Scarsdale Congregational Church: Coffee Hour is being held at 11:30 a.m.

3. Looking for something to do with the little ones inside the AC this weekend? Head over to Gymboree in Scarsdale Saturday at 9:45 a.m. fora free trial of a Weekend Art Class for kids ages 3-5 years.

4. Calling all artists. EMBARK is seeking artist sumissions for the Performing & Literary Arts Festival 2012. The early submissions deadline is July 15.

5. Beach plans? Be sure to check out our Summer Beach Guides to plan your trip to the NY, CTand NJ beaches. Be sure to pack the sunblock!
Page 4 of 7

Mortgage News Daily

  • MBS RECAP: Fed Minutes or Same Old Trend. Either Way, Bonds Didn't Like It

    Posted To: MBS Commentary

    The Fed released the minutes from its late January meeting today. Markets thought about them for 20 minutes and then tanked. What's up with that?! Looking at rate volatility as a factor of Fed policy can be tricky business. On the one hand, it would be easy to argue that the Fed has more power than anything else to affect the trajectory of interest rates. On the other hand, it could easily be argued that the Fed is merely responding to prevailing economic and financial conditions to the best of its ability and that appearance of the Fed's outsized impact on rates has more to do with a mismatch between the market's expectations and the Fed's thinking. With all of the above in mind, the meeting minutes provide market participants with a much clearer look inside the Fed's collective...(read more)

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  • Mortgage Rates Hit New 4-Year Highs

    Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

    Mortgage rates continued higher today following the release of the Minutes from the Federal Reserve's (aka "The Fed") most recent policy meeting. The Fed was slightly more upbeat than markets expected, saying that most members agreed that a stronger economy increased the likelihood of further rate hikes. Although the Fed Funds Rate doesn't directly dictate mortgage rates, there is plenty of long-term correlation. Because the Fed only meets 8 times a year to adjust rates (and rarely adjusts rates on all 8 occasions), bond markets (which include mortgage rates) are constantly adjusting to what the Fed will probably do in the future. Of course, it could be argued that both the Fed AND financial markets are simply adjusting to the state of the economy, inflation, etc., but that's more of a philosophical...(read more)

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  • Existing Home Sales Decline, Inventory Still a Big Issue

    Posted To: MND NewsWire

    Sales of existing homes fell again in January, the second consecutive month-over-month decline. Sales of pre-owned single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and cooperative apartments were down 3.2 percent compared to December, and the seasonally adjusted annual sales in December, already estimated at a 3.6 percent decline, were revised down even further. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) said existing homes sold during the month at a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.38 million, representing a year-over-year decline of 4.8 percent. It was the slowest sales pace since last September and the largest annual loss since a 5.5 percent decline in August 2014. December sales were revised down from 5.570 million to 5.56 million. The months sales results were broad-based. All four U.S. regions...(read more)

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  • MBS Day Ahead: Markets Expecting a Challenging Auction and Hawkish Fed Minutes

    Posted To: MBS Commentary

    Today's key events arrive in the afternoon in the form of a 5yr Treasury auction at 1pm and the release of the FOMC Minutes at 2pm. Not to be confused with the Fed Policy Announcement, the Minutes simply provide a more detailed account of the meeting 3 weeks prior that culminated in the most recent policy announcement (in this case, Jan 31st). Because that was a meeting with no rate hike, these meeting minutes are seen as a prime opportunity to foreshadow a hike in the March meeting. Even though the Fed Funds Rate doesn't move in lock-step with longer-term yields, it's important to know that the entirety of the yield curve moves up in anticipation of an eventual peak in the Fed Funds rate. As can be seen in today's chart, sometimes 2yr and 10yr yields follow the rise in Fed...(read more)

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  • Flagstar's Expansion; News Regarding Freddie and Fannie

    Posted To: Pipeline Press

    Why couldn’t the sesame seed leave the gambling casino? Because he was on a roll. In an admittedly weak segue, rolls are made in kitchens, and LOs may want to pass this link along to their Realtor clients: here are the top trends this year in kitchens. top trends this year in kitchens . Some of them are pretty interesting. Also of interest is the National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB), an association that represents the interests of individual mortgage loan originators and small to mid-size mortgage businesses, seeking to ban trigger leads . News From the GSEs, Lenders Reacting to Freddie and Fannie Changes Of great interest yesterday for lenders was news that the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal challenging the profits the government receives from housing giants Fannie...(read more)

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  • Mortgage Apps Finally Feeling Effects of Higher Rates

    Posted To: MND NewsWire

    Mortgage application volumes suffered their worst losses of 2018 last week. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said both purchase mortgages and applications for refinancing were down significantly during the week ended February 16 compared to the prior week. MBA's Market Composite Index, a measure of application volume, was fell by 6.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week ended February 9. It was the largest one-week decline since mid-September. The unadjusted composite was 3 percent lower. The Refinance Index lost 7 percent from a week earlier and the share of applications for refinancing declined to 44.4 percent, more than 2 percentage points below the prior week and the smallest portion since last July. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index fared only slightly better...(read more)

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  • MBS RECAP: Unofficial 4th Day of Weekend Leaves Bonds Slightly Weaker

    Posted To: MBS Commentary

    Today was a total dud in terms of volume and volatility. That's not all that uncommon on the Tuesday following a 3-day weekend, especially if there are no major events or headlines. Overnight bond market movement was dictated by an ongoing trend set into motion late last Friday when bonds found the limit of their near-term bullish potential. In other words, bonds rallied rather nicely into the late morning hours as short-sellers covered those short positions. From that point on, volumes decreased and there wasn't enough organic buying demand to maintain the relatively lower yields. European bond markets led another move toward higher yields when they opened at 2:30am ET, but those proved to be the highest yields of the session. EU and US bonds rallied fairly steadily until the 9:30AM...(read more)

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  • Mortgage Rates Unable to Extend Last Week's Gains

    Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

    Mortgage rates moved back up today after ending last week on a positive note. Improvements in rates have been uncommon so far in 2018. In fact, we haven't seen more than 2 consecutive days without a move higher. In that sense, today keeps the prevailing trend intact. If there's a saving grace, it's that rates didn't quite rise back above last week's highs. If there's a downside (whatever the opposite of a "saving grace" might be...), it's that rates remain in line with the highest levels in more than 4 years. While we COULD see some relief at some point, there's no telling if that would be a legitimate attempt at a ceiling or merely be a temporary correction before another move higher. Either way, betting on the emergence of a ceiling (via floating one's loan as opposed to locking) hasn't been...(read more)

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  • MBS Week Ahead: Positions Part 2: Making Better Sense of Early 2018

    Posted To: MBS Commentary

    Last Friday's Day Ahead was all about positions. Read it HERE , if you haven't done so or need a refresher. It advocated caution with respect to floating or otherwise being optimistic based on early gains because those early gains were likely a product of short-covering. Rampant short-covering is only a concern when short positions are uncommonly abundant. In turn, that sort of abundance is uncommon. It relies on a sea-change in some critical component of the market such as Fed policy, labor markets, fiscal policy, or inflation . That's where things might get frustrating this year--because how much have any of those factors really changed? Let's break them down: 1. Fed policy. No major change. We expected a more aggressive Fed hike path in late 2017 and nothing in early 2018...(read more)

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  • New Products, Expansion; Legal and Political Updates

    Posted To: Pipeline Press

    Welcome to Day 1 of the longest period in the United States without a federal holiday: President's Day to Memorial Day. Some will think, “That’s a drag,” while others will think, “That’s more days to fund loans!” Speaking of fundings, the precise HMDA information for 2017 won’t be out until September. But if you want a solid estimates for single family originations in 2017, Marina Walsh, VP of Industry Analysis with the MBA, points out tha its website is a good place for information on units and dollar volume, and thoughts about 2018. Legal and Political Updates There have been developments in repurchase/make-whole litigation. Although the number of repurchase suits appears to have been slowing down, James Brody, Chair of the Mortgage Banking Group...(read more)

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Residential Real Estate Sales

Westchester County, NY

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2009-2010 Top 5

Top Real Estate Agent Award

Westchester Magazine Top Realtor

2010-2011 Westchester Top Realtor

Westchester Magazine Top Realtor Award

For more information about fair housing practices, please visit the HUD website.

Bonnie Koff  |  Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker  |  William Raveis Legends Realty Group  | Tarrytown Office 
914-332-6300  |  37 Main Street, Tarrytown, New York 10591  |  Email