In search of a Westchester Home, however No Gardening Please. Which Did They Select?


Shortly after getting married six years ago, Liz and Justin Martorano bought a two-bedroom, two-bathroom cooperative in Scarsdale, NY. They chose to do this largely because of the parking.

“The hardest part was finding two convenient parking spaces,” Martorano said of the Scarsdale Cooperative, which had one outside parking space and the right to buy another for $ 45 a month.

Both drove to work, Ms. Martorano, now 35, to her job as an elementary school psychologist in the Bronx, and Mr. Martorano, 36, to his brand marketing job in Stamford, Conn.

The setup was fine until their second son was born last year. “See there, the second came and everything got so much more difficult,” said Ms. Martorano. “There were so many more toys. I thought they could share a room, but because of their sleeping schedule and age, that didn’t work out. “(Matthew is now 4 and Thomas is 1.)

Coming and going became a duty. The parking lot was up a hill. It was hard to get groceries, a stroller, and a toddler under one roof. Their decision as to whether to stay home or go out was determined by how hard it was raining. More space and comfortable, child-friendly furnishings became the priorities.

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The Martoranos contacted Jonathan Mernit of Coldwell Banker in Dobbs Ferry, NY, the agent who helped them purchase the Scarsdale cooperative. They told him they wanted a three bedroom house in a good school district in Westchester with reasonable taxes.

The couple considered single-family homes but gravitated towards homeowners’ associations, which came with lower taxes and did not have to maintain a yard.

“When I was growing up, my father loved gardening and mowing the lawn,” said Ms. Martorano, who is from nearby Irvington. “That was his therapy. He liked the greenest and luscious grass on the block, so he moved the sprinkler every morning. We don’t enjoy it like he does. “

As a child growing up in a row house in the Throgs Neck area of ​​the Bronx, Mr. Martorano barely had a yard. So he was fine not having one now. “Usually you want to get out of your house anyway,” he said. And homeowners’ association complexes often share outdoor facilities such as basketball courts, playgrounds, and swimming pools.

With such small children, the Martoranos avoided houses with bedrooms on different floors, fearing they would have to run up and down stairs after being woken up by a crying baby that night.

When they hunted, they became disillusioned with what they called the “fake three-bedroom” which turned out to be a windowless basement or attic room.

They were willing to spend up to $ 650,000 depending on the condition of the house. And they kept an eye on taxes, which typically ranged from $ 5,000 to $ 15,000 a year, as well as homeowners association fees and the occasional assessment for things like landscaping, repairs, and roof repairs.

One of their options is an attached townhouse with parking space:

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