Co-ops: The Starter Home of Westchester County

J Philip Faranda July 30, 2011

Right now, you could buy a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in Ossining for less than $160,000. No, it isn't a bombed out foreclosure behind a gas station, it is a co-op. Co -ops are one of the most affordable options for housing in all of Westchester county, and Ossining has almost 50 available priced under $200,000. Going further south in areas like White Plains, Scarsdale and Yonkers, hundreds more are available, often at very low price points. 

A co -op is one of the most misunderstood forms of home ownership. Simply put, co -op ownership differs from a condominium in that the owner is actually a shareholder in the corporation that runs the complex and get a proprietary lease to a unit instead of a deed. Because of this hybrid of real estate and stock ownership there is some extra paperwork for the lawyers in the purchase, and prospective buyers have to pass a board review before they can close. Reviews in this day and age are perfunctory, however, and mainly assess the strength of the buyer's ability to pay their bills, not unlike their own mortgage bank. 

Co-op ownership has some advantages. There are no house or yard headaches such as cleaning gutters or mowing a lawn, and complexes typically have attractive amenities like gyms, pools and community rooms. But to me, by far the best advantage to co ops is that they are among the most affordable homes in Westchester. Indeed, they have been deemed the "starter home of Westchester County" for years now. In an area that seems to export people in droves to outlying areas like Dutchess and Orange Counties and out of state, they can mean the difference between staying and leaving home. 

If a housing budget is low, the option between renting and owning might mean living 2 hours or more north of Manhattan. Co-op ownership allows a person to live here in Westchester- affordably, without having to add 2 hours a day to their commute living in the "exurbs" of Orange or Dutchess counties. In real estate, it is all about location. To my way of thinking, it is better to live locally in something affordable, than to be add travel and commute time just to live under a roof that won't break the bank. If you agree, you'll have plenty of choices in co-ops right here in Westchester County. Perhaps if more people realized this we might not see so many younger adults migrating from Westchester to points far beyond. 

You can search co-ops all over Westchester with a free Listingbook account

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