White Plains, NY Real Estate News

By J. Philip Faranda, Broker-Owner
(J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY)
I love White Plains and White Plains loves me.  Closed July 14: 16 Manor Ave, White Plains, NY. I have blogged about this one before. I was the selling agent. I sold my clients' White Plains Co op apartment last year in Bryant Gardens and we lost 2 other bids before landing this beautiful ranch in the Rosedale section off Mamaroneck Avenue. It was a process that took from February 2009 until July 2010. What a trip!  Closed July 20: 11 Woodbrook Rd, White Plains, NY. This was a For Sale by Owner I contacted and listed within a week. The sellers are terrific people who took every piece of advice I gave them, and kept the place in showable condition every waking moment. No showings were denied, no issues with walking through, and we got a buyer in April. There were challenges with getting ...
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By Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers
(The Flooring Girl)
One of the most common questions I get is whether bamboo flooring is hard or soft. Of course, this is not a simple answer.  While bamboo is technically a grass, It's usually classified as a hardwood.  If you search on the web for the Janka hardness (a rating meant to standardize the hardness of wood), you get all sorts of answers. Janka is a scale based on measurement of the force necessary to embed a .444-inch steel ball to half its diameter in wood.  Red Oak is the standard at 1290.  I have seen bamboo classified from as low as 1,010 to as high as 3000 (but most would agree it's harder than oak and it generally seems to fall in 1350-1400 range).  Almost every other hardwood has a consistent number from site to site.  Why the discrepancy on bamboo???   Well, there are a number of reaso...
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By Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers
(The Flooring Girl)
First, let me state for the record I prefer hardwood.  Second, let me clarify definitions.  Often my customers get laminate, engineered hardwood and vinyl confused.   It's not their job to know which is which...this is my job. • Laminate - This is fake.  It usually looks like hardwood (but some are made to look like tile).  These floors click into place and are usually floated.  Often, they can be placed on top of an existing floor without needing to remove it.  These are made with recycled wood that is left over in the manufacturing process • Vinyl - There are many forms of vinyl, but the most common types are sheets (12 ft wide) and vinyl tiles.  Vinyl is usually either waterproof or highly water resistant, pending on the type and quality.  For high quality and stylish vinyl see my re...
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By Ruthmarie Hicks
(Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605)
  Over the past couple of years, I’ve been able to see and capture some very unique floral arrangements in lower Westchseter NY.  Here are some photos of my top 3 picks.   The flowers themselves though beautiful can not be described as “funky.”  However the  …shall we say ..”planters” in each of these cases is truly unique. My all time favorite is the truck. I also rather like the “bathtub” arrangement.  I found his in the back of building just behind the Tarrytown Music Hall.   The antique cast iron tub makes for  quite a “planter.” Both the truck and the working boot arrangements are from Carlson’s Floral and Gift. The greenhouse is located at 625 Dobbs Ferry Rd. in White Plains, right near the Sprain Brook Parkway access.  If you think their funky arrangements are intriguing – you’ll...
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By Ruthmarie Hicks
(Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605)
The weekend is rolling around again and it is time for me to put up another Westchester events calendar.  Here are some nice events for a sultry summer weekend!  The number and variety of Westchester County events always ensures that residents will never be bored. EVERYDAY EVENTS: Open Gym The County Center is open to high school students for basketball, foosball, board games, knock hockey and general socializing 6 p.m. to 10 PM – Free to all Westchester County Center 198 Central Avenue White Plains, NY  10606 (914) 995-4050 Friday, July 23 New Rochelle Farmers’ Market Huguenot Street and Lawton Street FRIDAYS 8:00 AM TO 3:00 PM Movie in the Park – Monsters vs. Aliens 9PM Crossway Park Mamaroneck Rd. and Crossway Playland’s famous fireworks display Friday 9:15 p.m. – Parking $5
Playlan...
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By Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers
(The Flooring Girl)
I'm so excited about the recent enhancements to our flooring website.  We've partnered with Shaw, and now you have the ability to choose from over 2,000 flooring selections on our website - carpet, hardwood, tile, laminate and even area rugs. Floor Coverings International has over 90 locations across the US and Canada.  As a result, we can leverage our scale - we buy direct from the manufacturers and hence we are very reasonably priced. In this visualization tool, you can find the style and the color.  You can see it in a room scene and then switch the color to see the impact. As always, we "bring the store to your door" - that way you can see the colors in your own home and lighting.  We love providing design advice and we will guide you through the process.  I just love that now my cu...
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My re-designed Westchester County NY real estate web site is now up and running.This comprehensive, but easy to use site contains detailed information, news, resources and toolsfor Westchester home buyers, sellers, renters and landlords alike. Start here to inform yourself: http://homesbychristinericci.com Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, need assistance or would like to meet with me to discuss your real estate objectives. I am here to help.
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By Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers
(The Flooring Girl)
Vinyl has really come a long way.  It's not just the sheet vinyl or those peel & stick tiles.  The fastest growing segment is luxury vinyl which I know sounds like an oxymoron or a contradiction. Luxury vinyl comes in individual planks that look like hardwood, or in tiles and grout strips for tile look.  The individual pieces look and feel real - they have graining and texture variation that make it look like real hardwood, and the grooves at the edges give it real definition...in fact, so much so, that it fools many of the experts.  I've had samples in my office that people in the biz did double takes on after I've pointed it out - they never would have known if I hadn't said anything. Luxury vinyl is a great option if you need something WATERPROOF.  It can be great for basements or ki...
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By Ruthmarie Hicks
(Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605)
Here is your weekend Westchester events calendar.  There is certainly plenty to do this  considering that it is a relatively quiet summer weekend.  Westchester county events always have something for everyone. Everyday Events: Open Gym The County Center is open to high school students for basketball, foosball, board games, knock hockey and general socializing 6 p.m. to 10 PM – Free to all Westchester County Center 198 Central Avenue White Plains, NY  10606 (914) 995-4050 Thursday July 15: Flint Park Concert July 15, 2010, 7:15pm–9:00pm Flint Park, Bronson Ave & Locust Ave, Larchmont Wine-coupled dinner July 15, 2010, 7:00pm Plates Restaurant, 121 Myrtle Blvd, Larchmont   Friday July 16: New Rochelle Farmers’ Market. Huguenot Street and Lawton Street FRIDAYS 8:00 AM TO 3:00 PM Tarrytown...
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By J. Philip Faranda, Broker-Owner
(J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY)
Hat tip to Craig Rutman: Money Magazine has ranked America's top 100 small cities to live and White Plains came in ranked #53 . I am closing on a home in White Plains tomorrow as a matter of fact, with another closing later this month, and I do believe that Money has it right with this pick. White Plains in the county seat, has a fantastic mix of residential, shopping, and an exciting downtown, and a strong housing market even in these times. You can get a single family home, a high rise condo, or an affordable co op in a classy building here, and the taxes are low for Westchester.  I have blogged about White Plains previously and will continue to be active in that market. I knew all along what Money magazine is reporting- White Plains is a great place to live. 
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By Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers
(The Flooring Girl)
For those of you who don't know me, I'm not a realtor...but I play one on TV.  No, that's not true...But, I do work with a lot of realtors, so learning a bit through osmosis. I own my own flooring store. (hardwood, carpet, tile, sand & refinish, bamboo, and just about any other surface you can name).  I've been doing this for 3 years.  At this point I've had a lot of customers (and thankfully a whole bunch of repeat customers) and I've met a lot of people through netweorking (e.g. BNI, WCR, WEDC, WBC and just networking in general). What is so funny is that now, I keep running into people related to my job everywhere I go, esp at Starbucks.  In between appointments I often stop off at Starbucks since a) I love it and b) I get internet connection so I can catch up on estimates and emails...
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By Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers
(The Flooring Girl)
Carpet pad can make a tremendous difference in how soft your carpet feels and how long it lasts.  I have some customers that ask If they can re-use the existing carpet pad, and answer firmly, "Absolute not."  There are 3 reasons for this: Your new carpet will wear unevenly Besides the fact that this is a tad gross, the carpet pad traps all sort of germs, bacteria and odor (and maybe sometimes even mold which can be rather dangerous).  Oh, and if there were pets that peed, all of that is trapped in there.  Yuck! Your new carpet won't last as long nor feel as soft, so this is a short-sighted "cost savings" which doesn't actually save you money - it costs you money since you will need to replace your carpet sooner. When you have the option to upgrade your carpet pad, I would highly recomme...
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By Ruthmarie Hicks
(Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605)
  As posted yesterday, the Bengal Tiger – a landmark Indian restaurant in downtown White Plains went up in flames yesterday.  The cooking oil that was everywhere combined with 100 degree temperatures and flammable chemicals from the adjacent dry cleaners caused the fire to rapidly escalate into a 5 alarm fire.  Over 160 firefighters from White Plains and neighboring communities responded to the blaze.  The roof collapsed about 5 hours after the blaze began.  The fire is now “under control” but not over. 25 were overcome by smoke inhalation and the heat and taken to area hospitals. I drove by this evening to see what had happened. I was going to walk the streets, but decided against it as there were too many bystanders as it was and I didn’t want to be underfoot. The few shots I have wer...
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By Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers
(The Flooring Girl)
I know some of my customers get confused about laminate vs. engineered hardwood.  Which is real?  Which is fake?  What is the difference? First, laminate is fake.  It usually looks like hardwood (and occasionally tile) but it's not real.  It's a picture of hardwood covered by a melamine wear layer and on top of a high density core board. The pieces click together and lock into place to create a floating floor.  Laminate has really come a long way and looks rather real; but, when you walk on it, you can often tell by the clicking noisy/tinny sound that it's fake. Engineered hardwood, sounds fake, but it's NOT.  It's hardwood through and through, but it's constructed in layers (similar to plywood).  It's a terrible term because a lot of customers mistakenly interpret engineered hardwood a...
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By Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers
(The Flooring Girl)
I have to say that I love BNI (Business Networking International) and we are proud members of 3 local BNI groups in Westchester county (in White Plains and Pleasantville).  At first, I was dreading those weekly 7am meetings, but I have to tell you that even though I'm not a morning person, these people are friendly and funny and they definitely keep my attention.  And, of course the breakfast and coffee don't hurt either (I love when it's French toast week at Jean Jacques). For those not familiar w/ BNI, it's a networking group of non-competing professions that try to find referrals for each other.  Most of the members have used the members services or learn about them from testimonials from those that have.  You really get to know people on both personal and professional basis.  I like...
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By Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers
(The Flooring Girl)
Sanding & refinishing hardwood floors is one of the easiest and cost effective ways to change the look of your (or you client's) home.  Sometimes it's done to repair all the scratches and just make it shiny and pretty.  Other times, it's to give your place a dramatic face lift (e.g. go from dark to light to brighten up the place or go from light to dark to give it a more formal appearance).  Either way, it really makes the place look like new. If you're selling a home, it's usually a "must have."  If you are about to move into a new home, make the color your own (before you move the furniture in).  Most people find the cost is less expensive than they thought...and, it's certainly less than putting new flooring in, even less expensive than carpet. What has baffled me these last few week...
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By Ruthmarie Hicks
(Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605)
One of the famous downtown White Plains restaurants went up in flames today as a fire – which started in the basement spread to engulf the entire restaurant and take out half a block on East Post Road in White Plains NY. The location, just off of Mamaroneck Avenue in the heart of the downtown, complicated matters as smoke engulfed the area with temperatures near triple digits.  The five alarm fire demolished the Bengal Tiger and three other businesses – effectively destroying a half a block of the downtown area.  60 firefighters were from several communities were battling the flames.  The oppressive heat sent 25 fire fighters to the hospital due to smoke inhalation as well as heat exhaustion.  According to City Hall, the cause of the fire is under investigation. Tonight the fire is unde...
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By Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers
(The Flooring Girl)
I'm often asked whether prefinished hardwood or unfinished hardwood is better.  We install both and the truth is it depends on which of below factors is most important to you.  The next question I get is, which is less expensive??? Just to make sure we are on the same page for definitions, prefinished means that it's all finished in the factory and then you just install it.  Unfinished means you have raw hardwood that needs to be nailed into the floor and then sanded & refinished on-site. More scratch resistant/lasts longer.  Usually prefinished hardwood is 7-10x more scratch resistant than unfinished hardwood.  That's because when it's finished on site, you generally get 2-3 coats of poly while when it's factory made, you usually get at least 6-7 coats which are oven baked along w/ alu...
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By Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers
(The Flooring Girl)
Have you ever hired a contractor you couldn't trust? Check out this video  It's quite funny. Please hire someone you trust.  And, check their references.   Personally, I think the best place to try is Angieslist.com.  This site ranks professionals in many categories and based solely on customers reviews.  So, if you do a good job, that's recognized with A ratings; if you do a bd job, you are in the penalty box.  It is extremely objective.  For Angieslist, you need to be a paying member - I believe $35 annually and it is well worth it - the quality of the contractors you get is much higher and you can choose to call whomever you want. Another site to use is Service Magic.com.  This site is also good, but it charges the contractors for each lead so you get more people out there just looki...
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